Food appreciation week continues! Now if you’ve ever been to Nepal before, you’ll be familiar with the saying “Dal Bhat Power 24 Hour”. It’s printed on t-shirts, lauded by trekking guides and also 100% true. Most Nepali people eat two main meals a day. Dal bhat is both of them. One in the mid-morning and one in the evening. The country and its people are fuelled on this rice and lentil dish so it’s a good things it tastes delicious too!
If you caught our Instagram story last Friday, you saw co-founder Paige struggling to recreate dal bhat like she used to eat every day in Nepal. Well, this recipe is the fruit of her labours. She scoured the internet for the most promising recipes, played with spices and drew from memory to create something that she thinks comes pretty damn close to the real thing!
For the Dal (Ingredients)
- 3 tbps oil
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 chili pepper or jalapeno, minced
- 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup lentils
- *Note: I used small red lentils in my version but choose whichever works for you. Be aware of cooking times though as the smaller lentils will turn to mush if they’re over-cooked and nobody likes eating mush.
- 4-6 cups of water
- *Note: Depending on how thick you like your dal and which type of lentil you use.
For the Dal (Instructions)
- Add the oil and spices to a medium sized pot on medium heat. All the spices to toast for 30-60 seconds but be careful not to burn.
- Add the onion and pepper and saute for about five minutes before adding the tomatoes. Allow the tomatoes to cook down for another five(ish) minutes.
- Add the water and lentils.
*Note: This step will depend on the type of lentils used. For small ones, add ¾ of the water to the pot with salt and pepper and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes. Then, add the lentils and rest of the water and cook for another 15-20 minutes (make sure to avoid making mush). For larger, sturdier lentils, add them and all the water and cook for the full 40-45 minutes all together.
While your dal cooks, make up the rest of the dish.
For the Tarkari (Ingredients)
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 3 tbsp oil
- 4 cloves finely chopped garlic
- 1 tsp chopped ginger
- 2 chopped tomatoes
- 1 head of cauliflower florets
- 1 ½ cups chopped carrot
- 1 large chopped potato
- 1-2 cups water
- Salt and pepper to taste
*Note: Play around and add whatever vegetables you have on hand. Eggplant and green beans would also be particularly delicious.
For the Tarkari (Instructions)
- Throw the oil and spices into a large wok and let them toast for 30-60 seconds. Add in the onion, garlic, and ginger and saute for five minutes.
- Add the rest of the vegetables as well as the water and salt and pepper and allow to cook until the vegetables are tender.
While you’re cooking your dal and curry, don’t forget to put LOTS OF RICE into a pot and cook that up to. Finally, put a large bunch of spinach (or 5 or 6…. this is my favourite part) with some oil and a bit of water into a pan. Allow it to cook down until limp and ta-da you’ve got saag (a popular side dish served with dal bhat).
That’s it! Whether you serve it on a traditional metal thali set or mix it all up in a bowl, this dal bhat recipe is (we think) as close to the real thing as you can get!