Creamy black lentils is one of the most comforting and irresistible dishes on the planet, and no one makes them better than Vivek Singh, of The Cinnamon Club and Cinnamon Kitchen. Below he shares his recipe for the perfect black dal.
Vivek Singh’s black lentils
150g split urdad dal (black lentils)
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 green chillies, slit lengthwise
A pinch of asafoetida
4 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
5cm piece of ginger, cut into fine matchsticks
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
75ml double cream, lightly whisked
Soak the black lentils in a bowl of water for two hours, or overnight if possible
Drain the lentils, then place in a pan with half the onion, green chillies, half the asafoetida and salt to taste
Add 1.5 litres of water, bring to the boil and cook for 30-40 minutes until they are very tender and completely disintegrated
In a separate pan, heat the oil and add cumin seeds and remaining asafoetida, stir for 30 seconds or so until the seeds start to crackle, then add the remaining onion and fry for about 10 minutes over a medium heat until golden.
Add the ginger and garlic and fry for a minute. Add the tomatoes, coriander, ground cumin, salt and red chilli powder and fry for another five minutes.
Add the boiled lentil mixture and enough additional water, if required, to make a thick gravy-like consistency and mix well. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Pour in the whisked cream and mix well. Remove from the heat, check the seasoning and serve with naan bread or paratha of your choice.
Read Brummell’s Five minute with… Vivek Singh interview here.