I find that dhal is such a deceptively easy dish to over cook. It looks so watery that the temptation is there to cook it until all of it is absorbed, or evaporated, by which time it’s too thick and stiff when served. Rather then cook it until it looks like how I want it, I cooked it until it was still a bit too runny, so that when it was served, it had stiffened up just a bit and was still nice and slack.
This time I used the recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg Everyday, although I’ve used one of Madhur Jaffrey’s in the past; they all seem pretty similar to be honest. It was very tasty and much slacker than I’ve made in the past, which was great. The kids still wouldn’t touch it though…
For me, you have to have your dhal with naan bread; nothing beats scooping up all that soft steaming dhal with a bit of warm soft bread. I’ve made these twice now, the recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey’s Eastern Vegetarian Cooking and while its easy to prepare, it takes ages to actually cook all the naan’s. They need four to five minutes in the pan and another one to one and a half under the grill, so unless you have a very large pan, or two pans you can use, you can probably only make one at a time. With nine to make, it takes quite some time, and resulted in quite a late dinner when I made them for the first time.
I’ll definitely be doing these again, although I might have another go at the dhal recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s book now that I know I need to leave it quite watery in the pan as it will stiffen for serving.