I’m obsessed with a restaurant in Leeds called Hansa’s. It’s Gujrati vegetarian food with some Kenyan influence. Sounds incredible? It is. I go every couple weeks, usually with my friend Bronia (one of the rare vegetarians I’ve met here in the UK and my friend Ellen who introduced me to the place.
Earlier this week I got an amazing surprise when my boyfriend came home with a little gift from Bronia. On a whim she bought me BOTH Hansa’s cookbooks! I WAS GOBSMACKED. And also overwhelmed! What to make first? Well actually, that question was easy to answer.
Hansa’s Chevti Daal with 4 different lentils and of course my own twist on the dish cause I rarely stick to recipes entirely. I always make changes to recipes because I’m a
lazy bitch badass rebel. Ellen came over for this momentous occasion and we stuffed our faces like we were “batshit cray cray” like Ellen likes to say.
What you’ll need:
- 1/2 cup of each of the following lentil varieties: toor daal (little red lentils) channa daal (plumper yellow lentils) urad daal (little white pearls) moong daal (dark green beads)
Don’t be hesitant to buy so many bags of lentils at once. Lentils look beautiful in mason jars on a shelf in your kitchen. And one cup of lentils can serve 6 people. They’re cheap, healthy, versatile and gorgeous!
- Half an onion finely chopped (you’ll use the other half later)
- 3 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
- A thumb of ginger finely chopped
- 2 tiny green chillies finely chopped
- Ground cumin
- Curry powder
- Garam Masala
- A bit of brown sugar
- Butter and oil for frying (or just oil if you’re doing this vegan stylz)
- Lime wedges and chopped coriander for garnishing
What to do:
The night before, mix all the pick through the dry lentils to remove any stones or impurities. Then, in a bowl cover with water. Let the lentils soak overnight and the next day. They’ll get soft and plump up a bit.
When you’re ready to start cooking, prepare your onion and mash up the ginger garlic and chillies into a kind of paste with a mortar and pestle (if you can, otherwise just chop everything finely).
Rinse the lentils in a colander very well, to remove as much starch as possible (so basically you want to see the water coming out underneath as clear and no longer cloudy).
Boil about 1 liter of water and add the lentils. Boil the lentils for 30 minutes until they get really soft. Then, using a whisk, whisk the lentils and water until it forms a thick broth. (this is what the recipe in the book said, I’m still not sure if I did this right but it was still incredible so don’t worry too much about this part).
Move the lentils to another burner and heat up a large wok or frying pan. Heat the butter and oil on medium heat and add the onions and the garlic, ginger and chilli combination.
Once the onions get nice and soft, add the lentils (in the water) and stir. Use your own instincts to add your spices –maybe start with about a teaspoon of each (turmeric, cumin, curry, garam masala) and a teaspoon of brown sugar and salt.
Simmer for about 10 minutes until the daal thickens.
While the daal is simmering, chop the second half of your onion very finely, and with a tiny bit of oil and on high heat, fry the onions so they get very crispy.
Serve the daal over some fluffy rice and top with crispy onions and chopped coriander and or course–a squeeze of lime!
Enjoy with a fruity gin cocktail!