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A spice less ordinary

Passport & Plate - Murkha Dahl

India | Thursday, 5 March 2015 | 3 photos

qtr cup Butter or ghee
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
I onion chopped finely
2 garlic cloves
I tbs grated ginger root
1 tsp tumeric
2 green chillis seeded and chopped
1 cup red lentils
4 cup water
1 and qtr cup coconut milk
I tsp salt
fresh corriander leaves


How to prepare this recipe
Rinse and drain the lentils. Place in a saucepan covered with water and leave for 24 hours then drain well before starting the recipe.
Melt butter or ghee over moderate heat then add the mustard seeds and cover the lid.
Once the seeds start to pop add the onion, garlic, and ginger.
Cook this uncovered until they are soft and the garlic has browned. About 8 minutes.
Now stir in the tumeric and the green chillies cooking for 2 minutes longer or until the chillies have softened.
Add the lentils cooking 2 minutes longer, ensure you stir frequently until the lentils start to turn translucent.
Add the water, coconut milk and salt and stir well.
Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until it has reached a desired consistancy. If you like your dahl thicker cook longer.
Serve Piping hot with corriander leaves added just prior to serving


The story behind this recipe
Oh Dahl… be still my beating heart! I’ve always appreciated the unassuming things in life and the sweet but nutty little red pulse we call the lentil fits snugly into this category as does this Murkah Dahl recipe.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy big, boisterous and complicated flavours but as the old adage goes sometimes less is more and for me this simple dish warms me inside and out each and every time I cook it for myself or my friends, one of who affectionately renamed it Kylie’s Dahl, something that never fails to bring a smile to my face.
So it’s definitely tried and tested and it’s certainly drool worthy. One waft from the simmering saucepan when the fragrance of the coconut milk combines with that of the green chillies, onions and spices is enough to send those present swooning, but what makes it unique?
Like many Australians I am a ‘cook book’ cook. I have cook books with well warn pages covered in splashes of oil, flours and spice rubs all from zealous cooking adventures in my apartment kitchen. I have searched, tested and tasted way through many of their pages looking for a recipe so delicious, so special that, as clichéd as it is, I imagine it being passed down through generations and learnt at the apron of an elderly grandparent as a young child.
This simple, creamy, sun yellow dahl evokes this whenever I have the pleasure to cook it. It is a recipe to be both treasured and shared, something I will continue to do with all those near and dear to me for many years to come.

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