If you have read any of my other “camping cuisine” blog posts you will know that I am true carnivore, so I find it strange that dahl is fast becoming one of my all-time favourite Indian dishes. I stumbled across a dhal solely by accident – my wife somehow managed to order one when we had an Indian take out, and with the Indian being a fifteen minute drive away it wasn’t worth taking it back so I ate it, and boy am I glad I did since it opened up an entire new menu to me.
Since sampling the dahl from the Indian I have since developed my own recipe (made up of several different parts of other recipes I have found on the internet) that I cook for my weekday work lunches. This dahl recipe is easy enough but it is a faff and having to boil red lentils for fifteen minutes and then simmering them for a further twenty minutes isn’t ideal when on a camping trip. Using the gas cooker in the Accordo 120 it’s fine, although it does steam the place up a bit and also gives a funky smell for several hours afterwards but if I only had one of those ‘proper’ camping gas stove this dhal would not be suitable because it takes too long and would use up too much gas.
This quick and easy dahl recipe is a meal you can prepare and cook within five minutes, and it is delicious as well. Since this dhal recipe requires just a few minutes to cook, and not a lot of heat either (it only needs warming up) it is perfect for any type of camping stove, even the little single burner portable camping stoves – you know the ones that are low powered and use camping gaz for power.
My quick and easy dhal recipe requires the following ingredients:
To make the dhal you simply open the tin of green lentils and pour in to a saucepan. Don’t drain the water since this is needed to cook the dhal and stop the contents sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. Don’t worry about the lentils having a “waxy” texture – they won’t, and there really is no need to rinse the lentils before cooking either.
Mix the curry powder (I use hot madras because I like a spicy kick but you can use whatever curry powder you want), chilli powder (once again a I use a hot chilli powder but you can use whatever strength chilli powder you want), cumin, black pepper and salt in to a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Start warming the lentils on the hob, and as they start to steam add the spice mix and stir. You need to stir the lentils and spice thoroughly but also gently so not to “mash” the lentils. It is important that the spice mix is totally stirred in with the lentils otherwise the final dish will have a ‘gritty’ texture, which is not nice.
Once the spice mix is fully stirred in continue to warm the contents of the sauce pan for a further two minutes and add the lime juice. I find three table spoons of lime juice gives just enough acidity for my taste buds, although you may wish to add more (or less) accordingly. Continue to warm the contents for a further three to five minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent anything sticking to the pan. Once the contents are hot all the way through it is then time to devour. No how easy is that?!?
I usually have my dhal with basmati rice (it is a great combination) however this doesn’t mean my dhal can’t be served with anything else. My better half likes basmati rice, although not as much as I do so she will often have some type of bread, such as naan, crusty French loaf, pitta, a panini, tiger bread…… any bread will work so pick what you fancy at the time.
As well as serving with different breads the dhal is also a great accompaniment to a jacket potato. I appreciate that cooking jacket potatoes is impossible using a camping stove but for all you motor home owners and caravan owners who have the luxury of an oven this is possible and it works very well.
Another use for my quick and easy dhal is to pour it over cooked chicken, where it really bulks it up and adds some flavour to it. All you need to do is put the chicken on the BBQ (and who doesn’t have at least one BBQ on a camping trip?) and whilst it is cooking get making the dahl. Once the chicken is cooked (and make sure it is thoroughly cooked before serving) pour over the dhal and devour. Delicious.
The dahl is also great with a green salad, and whilst you can serve a hot dahl with a cold salad, I think it works better letting the dhal go cold first. Trust me, the dhal is just as delicious cold as it is hot.
As you can see my quick and easy dhal is versatile and can be served with loads of different things.