Grace Regan is owner of popular vegan curry house, SpiceBox. Inspired by her South Indian great-aunt Dolly, her biggest food influence, Grace launched a takeaway-turned-popular-street-food-stall, selling plant-powered curries. It was such a hit, in fact, she gave up her gazebo and set up a bricks and mortar SpiceBox restaurant in East London. Grace is also a talented food writer, longlisted for the BBC Food Rising Star Award and published in The Guardian and Huffington Post.
From the book SpiceBox: 100 Curry House Favourites Made Vegan by Grace Regan, a collection of curry house-inspired recipes for vegans packed with flavoursome, plant-based twists on popular classics, including curries, dhals, biryanis, and street snacks, comes this perfect recipe for those evenings when you’re too tired to cook. This flavoursome vegan dhal can be ready in just fifteen minutes.
See also: Mary Berry’s Velvet Chocolate Torte
Grace Regan says: “This is a dish I turn to again and again – often when I’m too tired or busy to cook but want something filling, nutritious and super-tasty. If you’re new to Indian cooking, or making dhals, then this recipe is a great place to start.”
Serves 2 as a main
Easy Cook time: 15 min
- 200g split red lentils
- 2 tbsp veg oil
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 green chilli, slit lengthways
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed with the side of your knife
- A thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely diced
- ½ white onion, sliced into half-moons
- 2 tomatoes, roughly diced
- 800ml boiling water
- ½ tsp ground turmeric salt
- A pinch of chilli flakes, to garnish
- 1 tbsp coconut yoghurt, to garnish (optional)
- First, rinse the lentils. The best way to do this is by putting them in a large bowl, covering with cold water and then gently swirling them around with your hands until the water becomes cloudy. Drain and repeat at least three times until the water is clear. Set them to one side.
- Place a medium saucepan on a medium heat and add the oil. When it’s hot, add the cumin seeds, green chilli, garlic and ginger, and fry for a few minutes until everything is golden and smelling delicious. Now add the onion, fresh tomatoes and ½ teaspoon of salt and stir well.
- Add the lentils to the saucepan, followed by the boiling water and the turmeric. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10–15 minutes until the lentils are soft but still have a bit of bite to them.
- Once the dhal is cooked, taste for seasoning – it may need a touch more salt.
- Serve topped with the chilli flakes and a spoonful of coconut yoghurt, if using. If you have some toasted nuts or seeds lying around, you can add these too for texture.