I first gave this dhal to my daughter when she was about twelve months old. She liked it right away. Lentils (and other legumes) are the best source of protein for vegetarian kids. My daughter still loves dhal, and luckily all my other family members do too. I make a kids-friendly dhal variation at least once a week. Now I make it spicier than when my daughter was only one year old. These days I add one small, dried chili pepper to our dhal. This gives just a little bit of spiciness that doesn’t scare off kids. Are you making this recipe for adults? Then add some more dried chili peppers: about two or three or to your taste.
This kids-friendly dhal is perfectly suitable for freezing. It is also one of those meals that taste even better the next day.
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- ¼ tsp mustard seed
- ¼ tsp fennel seed
- ¼ tsp cumin seed
- A small yellow onion
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- One celery stalk
- One carrot
- 1 measuring cup lentils (I use one part red or yellow lentils and one part black beluga lentils), about 120 g in total
- 400 ml coconut milk light
- 100 ml tomato passata
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp fenugreek powder
- Salt to taste (the smallest children are allowed no/very little salt)
- Rice or another grain to serve (I like basmati rice with this dish)
Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package.
Rinse the lentils very well under running cold water.
Finely chop the onion and garlic. Cut the celery stalk into thin slices. Peel and grate the carrot.
Heat the coconut oil in a deep pan. Add the mustard seeds, fennel seeds and cumin seeds.
When the seeds start to pop, add the chopped garlic, onion and celery and stir-fry until translucent. This will take about 2-4 minutes. Then add the grated carrot, stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the lentils, coconut milk and passata and bring to boil. Add salt (if using), garam masala and fenugreek powder.
Cook on low heat for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat. Leave the dhal in the pan for at least 15 minutes. Whenever time allows, I leave the dhal to rest in the pan for an hour before serving.
Serve with basmati rice (or any other grain of your choice).