Saturday, 22 April 2017

South Indian Red Lentil Dhal with Spinach - Parippu with Spinach

Parippu is a favourite lentil dish of mine, that I've been cooking for years, and I love to add fresh spinach to it for a healthy twist.

This dish is so versatile - it's excellent as a meal in itself, if you just want a bowlful with or without flatbreads on the side; and also makes the perfect accompaniment to other Indian dishes if you fancy a good old 'curry night'. 

Not only that, I think it's a pretty simple dish to make - you just throw the majority of the ingredients into a large pot and leave it to simmer away, and then just make a quick 'tarka' to add near the end, along with some wilted spinach.

This serves ten portions (of approximately 250g, depending on evaporation), so if you want to serve it as part of a selection of dishes, you can double that (or more!).

Calories: 273 calories per portion (if divided into ten) 2,729 calories for the whole batch (so if you're only having a ladleful in a ramekin sized dish with a selection of other things it would be nearer 150 calories).

Makes for a delicious vegan dinner along with a couple of other curries.
  • 450g split red lentils (check gluten free if cooking GF) [1,431]
  • 2 onions, chopped (200g) [82]
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, finely chopped (no need to skin) [32]
  • 1 x 400ml can of coconut milk [616]
  • 4 small green (finger) chillies, finely sliced (or chopped) [3]
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric [7]
  • 2 tsp ground cumin [16]
  • 2 tsp ground coriander [12]
  • 400g fresh spinach (I like baby leaf) [136]
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice [4]
  • Salt to taste

For the tarka
  • 2 tbsp oil (I like to use coconut oil) [279]
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds [15]
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds [9]
  • 2 onions, finely chopped [82]
  • About 25 curry leaves (preferably fresh, a couple of sprigs) [5]

1. Rinse the lentils then put into a large pan with 1100ml water, the two chopped onions, tomatoes, coconut milk, chillies, turmeric, cumin and coriander. 

2. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for approximately 25 minutes, until the lentils have broken down somewhat.

3. Meanwhile, wilt the spinach (you can do this by following the instructions on the packet if it's prewashed, or pop in a bowl, cover and microwave for 1-2 minutes, or put into a large colander and pour boiling water over it), allow to cool until comfortable to handle, and then squeeze all the excess water out of it. Chop it up and set aside.

4. Make the 'tarka' by heating the oil in a pan, and adding the cumin seeds and mustard seeds, covering and waiting until they pop. Add the finely diced onions, and curry leaves and cook over a low heat until the onions are nice and golden brown. 

5. Stir the tarka into the lentils, along with the lemon juice and salt to taste (this may be around 2-4 teaspoons, depending on your palate - remember there is no stock added, so no salt in it at all - add some, taste, then add more if necessary). Cook for another 5 minutes, then stir in the wilted, chopped spinach and serve. Will freeze beautifully.

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