When I was younger and at University, I was lucky enough to visit India.
Over one, joyful Christmas, I got to travel across the Golden Triangle, visiting tiny ramshackle villages, tiger sanctuaries, spectacular temples, and colourful, crowded cities.
I tried endless new cuisines, inhaled dusty streets and spice markets, marvelled at the sights, and met some truly amazing people. In fact, some villagers were so warm and welcoming that they even threw a Christmas party just for us, where they hung fairy lights from the mango trees and cooked all sorts of delicious dishes, welcoming us into their homes.
Ever since, I’ve loved cooking Indian or Asian cuisine. It’s my ultimate comfort food, and there is little that makes me happier than tucking into a homemade curry on a Friday night.
This Cauliflower & Lentil Dhal With Homemade Spelt Chapatis is my ultimate Friday fakeaway.
It’s rich and delicious, thanks to the tomatoes and coconut milk, and is the perfect Autumn or winter comfort food. It’s cosy, ideal for snuggling up on the sofa with, and leaves you feeling satisfied and happy.
It also has plenty of flavour and spice. And, a real kick to it, too! Although, you can control this as much as you’d like – add more or less spice, according to your tastebuds (I always opt for more).
I promise you, too, that even the most ardent of meat lovers (i.e my boyfriend) will fall for this as it has enough flavour on its own.
Dhals, despite their reputation as ‘peasant food’ are one of my favourite dishes, and are brilliant meals for Meat-Free Mondays. They’re also incredibly cheap, and can be made using mainly store cupboard ingredients.
Perfect for whipping up towards the end of the month!
When you add in the homemade chapatis, you get the perfect healthy weekend meal. Nourishing, comforting, and full of flavour, but with none of the added nastiness.
Cauliflower & Lentil Dhal With Homemade Spelt Chapatis
- Serves 4
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 red onion, peeled and finely diced
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 0.5 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp turmeric (upto 2 tsp)
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp chilli powder (upto 2 tsp)
- 1 tsp cumin (upto 1 1/4 tsp)
- 1 tsp ground coriander (upto 1 1/4 tsp)
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cups red lentils
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1-2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 bunch fresh coriander
- 1 lime (plus one more to serve)
- For the chapatis –
- 2 cups spelt flour (or 1 cup spelt, 1 cup plain flour for a more authentic taste)
- 2/3 cup + 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt, to taste
- 1 tsp paprika / chilli flakes (optional)
- Heat the coconut oil in a large pan, then add the onion and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add the garlic, chilli, ginger and spices, along with a good dose of salt and pepper, then stir well and fry gently for a further couple of minutes.
- Stir in the lentils, then tip in the tomatoes, coconut milk and cauliflower. Pour in enough stock to cover the cauliflower and lentils, then bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer.
- In the meantime, finely chop a small handful of the coriander stems, then stir those in too, before adding the juice of half a lime. Cover the curry with a lid on, stirring often and adding more stock as needed (bear in mind that you may need to add more of the spices, too), until the lentils and cauliflower are softened, but still have a small amount of ‘bite’ (around 20-25 minutes). Season to taste, then remove from the heat.
- While your curry cooks, make your chapatis. Mix together the flour with the salt and spices. Then, stir in the olive oil and enough water to form an elastic dough. If you add too much and it’s too sticky, add in some more flour.
- Knead the dough for around ten minutes, or until smooth and silky. Cut the dough into smaller chunks (I made 8), then roll into thin tortilla shapes on a floured surface.
- To make the chapatis, heat a small amount of coconut oil in a pan until sizzling. Add the chapatis, one at a time, cooking on each side for 30 seconds to one minute, or until golden and light brown. Wrap in kitchen roll to keep warm and repeat with your remaining dough.
- Serve your dhal in a large bowl scattered with fresh coriander, a squeeze of lime and warm chapatis.