The perfect Daal and Cabbage

The evenings are getting cold and the dinners are getting hotter in Manchester. Here is a good combination of Indian recipes which don’t require too much skill and use up one of the few cabbages we have waiting in the fridge this time of year.

To make the Daal – Madhur Jaffrey’s in this case

Serves 4

400g mung dal (skinned yellow split mung beans)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4cm piece of root ginger, peeled and cut into 4
1 tbsp turmeric
4 small green chillies, 2 finely chopped, 2 left whole
2 tbsp ghee or groundnut oil
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp crushed chilli
Fresh coriander, chopped to serve

1. Wash the dal until the water runs clear, then drain and put in a large pan and cover with 2 litres of cold water. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface.

2. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric and chopped chillies to the pan with a pinch of salt, turn down the heat, cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and simmer very gently for about 1½ hours, stirring occasionally, until the dal has broken down completely and become creamy.

3. Add boiling water or reduce the dal further to achieve your preferred consistency if necessary, and season to taste – I add about 1 tsp salt – then add the whole chillies and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, heat the ghee or oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat and add the shallots. Stir until golden and beginning to crisp, then add the dried spices and cook for a couple of minutes until the mustard seeds are beginning to pop. Tip over the dal, stir in, and top with chopped coriander. Serve with plain rice or flatbreads.

To cook the cabbage –

1 cabbage – green or white

2 tbsp veg oil

1.5 tsp black mustard seeds

8-10 curry leaves

1.5 tsp urad dal

1 large onion finely sliced

1/2 tsp ground tumeric

1 tsp cumin

50ml water

salt to taste

Shred the cabbage

Heat oil in the pan, medium heat. Add mustard seeds and when they pop add the curry leaves and urad dal. When the urad dal starts to colour (2-3m), add onion and saute for 6-8 minutes.

Add cabbage, turmeric, cumin and a good pinch of salt. Stir well as simmer for 5-7 minutes until cabbage is cooked but retains a bite.

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