- Cook red lentils in water. One part lentils, two parts water. A handful of lentils per person?
- Meanwhile in another pan, get some oil nice and hot à la Ken Hom. Add fennel seeds, then sliced onions, ground coriander, cumin and turmeric, ten minutes. Let's say a sparing teaspoon per spice per person. If it catches, add a little water.
- Add chopped ginger and garlic, salt and pepper. Turn down and cook slowlyish while you wait for your lentils. When they have expanded and softened (30-40 minutes), add the onion mix to them. Stir, season, add water if you want it soupier. Taste it. Let the flavours mingle while you do the last bit.
- Brown one more sliced onion in hot butter and if it pleases you, add more spices and a smidgen of sugar.
- Serve the dhal with some of these miraculous onions on top.
- Weep with joy.
What did it taste like? This is truly wonderful, and though not usually referred to as a soup, it can be eaten as one.
- Lentils produce a bit of scum as they boil. Don't get upset, they do it with everyone. Spoon it off, and add more water if the pan starts looking a bit dry.
- Season lentils at the end of cooking.
- Even though I am extremely attached to fresh coriander, which I added at the end, it would have been perfect without.