Tom Hunt’s Dal Fry

This lentil soup, from guest chef Tom Hunt, is topped with a spiced butter to which you can add any vegetable odds and ends that need using up at home.

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Serves: 4


For the Dal

50g butter

2 onions, sliced into half moons

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 thumb ginger, grated

150g yellow lentils, rinsed

½ teaspoon chilli powder / chopped chilli (to taste)

1 tablespoon garam masala

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 tin coconut milk

Spiced butter

50g butter

1 small onion, finely diced

1 handful vegetables that need using up e.g. chopped tomato, broccoli, green beans etc.

2 teaspoons whole spices such as cumin, coriander, fennel, fenugreek or mustard seeds


For the Dal

  1. Sauté the onions in the butter on a medium heat until they begin to caramelise.
  2. Add the sliced garlic, grated ginger and the spices and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the lentils and stir, followed by the coconut milk and enough water to just cover all the ingredients.
  4. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, topping up with boiling water if the soup starts to dry out or stick to the pan.
  5. When the lentils have cooked and the consistency is becoming soupy, check for seasoning, adding salt to taste.

For the spice butter

  1. In a frying pan, melt the butter on a medium heat. Add the sliced onion and allow to caramelise.
  2. Add the whole spices and cook for a minute, stirring.
  3. Add any other chopped vegetables if using now, allowing longer for harder vegetables such as broccoli, and shorter times for tomatoes or spinach.

 To serve

  1. Spoon the soup into bowls and top with spiced butter and vegetables.

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