Makes 7 portions. Total cost £1.97, assuming 5p for the cost of the bulk-bought spices
300g yellow split peas/Chana dhal. (67.5p)
1tblsp garam marsala
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp. oil (3p)
1 onion sliced (12p)
100-150g mushrooms, sliced (25p)
1 large clove garlic, crushed (5p)
1 tsp ground chilli
2 cups frozen mixed veg (30p)
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes (25p)
Optional: A handful of fresh spinach leaves or leftover rocket from a bag of salad leaves. (25p)
Optional: a tblsp or so of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1.5 cups basmati rice (12p)
3 cups boiling water
1. Pour the dhal into a sieve and rinse well in fresh water. It doesn't need soaking..
2. Boil the kettle. Meanwhile, measure the dhal in a jug, make a note of the volume measurement and pour into a saucepan. Add twice as much boiling water. (The packet said to use 1 litre of water for 300g of dhal but that took considerable simmering to be absorbed..)
3. Stir in the turmeric, salt and the garam marsala, bring back to the boil and simmer until the dhal is soft and most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir regularly. The dhal will be cooked after 20-25 minutes but it takes a while until the liquid is almost gone. (Note: when it reaches the point where it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, that’s when it’s ready.)
4. Meanwhile, make your Tarka:
a. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion until soft.
b. Add the mushrooms and continue frying until most of the water they make has evaporated. Then stir in the crushed garlic.
c. Have your frozen mixed veg ready on the side. Sprinkle the chilli over the contents of your frying pan and stir fry until the aroma rises. Stir in the frozen veg and fry until all their water has evaporated.
d. Add the tomatoes and fry until most of their liquid is gone, stirring occasionally. Stir in the spinach and coriander if using and cook until wilted. Switch off until the dhal is ready.
5. To make the rice using the absorption method:-
a. Boil the kettle again.
b. Measure out your rice and put in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid.
c. Cover with twice as much boiling water.
d. Bring back to the boil and boil for 2 minutes. (Use a timer.)
e. Switch off the heat. Cover the saucepan with its lid and leave to sit for at least 12 minutes.
f. It is now ready to serve.
6. When your dhal is ready, stir in the tarka. Taste and season as necessary. Serve over rice.
- As you can see from the photo, this is great for lunch boxes for work. It freezes well. Defrost and then zap for 2 minutes in the microwave or until piping hot.
- Instead of using frozen mixed veg, you can use any leftover cooked vegetables you have to hand. This works well with grilled peppers or roasted mix veg (e.g. Sliced onions, mushrooms, peppers, courgettes tossed in oil and herbs and roasted for half an hour or so in a hot oven).