Luckily, unlike many of my other addictions, this one is cheap and healthy. (Don't look at me like that - I'm talking about my love of expensive cookware and fluffy cupcakes).
This recipe combines lentils and coconut milk, and creates an insanely delicious meal. It smells heavenly too. Like many Indian dishes, it has a somewhat intimidating list of ingredients, but if you pre-measure your spices you won't run into any problems.
This is what I think of as a weekend slow cooker recipe, because it only takes two hours so you can't go to work and leave it. If you're in a rush, I think you could easily just go ahead and simmer it gently in a pot on the stove. It will probably take approximately 45 minutes if you choose to do it this way.
Coconut, Tomato and Lentil Dhal (serves 4, from Best Ever Recipes for your Slow Cooker)
30 ml/2 tbsp vegetable oil*Good garam masala is the key to this recipe. The spice mixture is readily available at Indian markets. If you aren't lucky enough to have a source, you can read a recipe for the mixture here.
1 large onion, very finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 carrot, diced
10 ml/2 tsp cumin seeds
10 ml/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
2.5 cm/1 inch piece fresh ginger root, grated
10 ml/2 tsp ground turmeric
5 ml/1 tsp mild chili powder
5 ml/1 tsp garam masala*
225g/8 oz/1 cup split red lentils
400 ml/14 fl oz/1 2/3 cups boiling vegetable stock
400 ml/14 flz oz/1 2/3 cups coconut milk (I used light and it was perfectly fine)
5 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (I used one can of diced tomatoes instead)
juice of 2 limes
60 ml/4 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
salt and ground black pepper
25g/1 oz/1/4 cup sliced, toasted almonds
1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the garlic, carrot, cumin, mustard seeds and ginger to the pan. Cook for 3 -4 minutes, stirring, until the seeds begin to pop, the aromas are released and the carrot softens slightly.
3. Add the ground turmeric, chili powder, and garam masala to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until the flavors begin to mingle.
4. Tip the mixture into the ceramic cooking pot. Add the lentils, stock, coconut milk and the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well and cover the pot with the lid.
5. Cook on high for 2 hours, or until the lentils are soft, stirring halfway through the cooking time. Stir the lime juice and the cilantro into the dhal, check the seasoning and cook for an additional 30 minutes (if you're making it on the stove, do this after about 35 minutes and cook for an additional 10 minutes). Serve with toasted almonds (I skipped this because I'm lazy).
Naan recipe coming tomorrow...