I’ll have the Dal, Darl

Dal. Dahl. Daal. Doesn’t matter how you spell it, all that matters is that you eat it. A staple of Indian, Nepalese, Sri Lankan, Bangadeshi and Pakistani diets, Dal is one tasty, healthy (and cheap!) meal to eat.

For all of you vegos out there, the lentils that go into making dal are high in protein. And they’re high in lean protein – lentils contain virtually no fat. They have plenty of fiber to improve your digestive system. They are high in iron. They contain folate, essential for cell growth and reproduction. They contain vitamins C and K. For all of you guys that go for the Glycemic Index, lentils have a low GI – it takes a lot of work for your body to break them down. Basically, summing all of these together, lentils could be described as a super food.

Anyway, in my attempt to change unhealthy ways that full-time sitting in a full-time job has brought, I decided to turn this superfood into a delicious meal. Here’s my recipe for Dal.

You will need:
– 1 cup of lentils
– 1 tbsp cumin
– 1 tbsp turmeric
– 1 tbsp garam masala
– 1 tbsp chilli powder and/or a chopped red chilli
– 1 onion, chopped
– 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
– a decent handful of chopped coriander
– 3 1/2 cups of veg stock (or water)
– any sort of veg that you might want to add – I went with some pumpkin and sweet potato, and also some kale left over from my epic kale chip recipe
– olive oil

Step 1 – fry me a river: heat some oil in a saucepan and fry off your onion until it’s tender and translucent. Add your garlic, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and chilli/s. Fry these for a few seconds to release their fragrance and then add your lentils. Give them a bit of a stir.

Lentilly goodness

Step 2 – low and slow: tip your stock/water into the pot. Bring to the boil and then turn that heat right on down. You pretty much just want to be leaving this hear, lid on, stirring occasionally – like, every 20 minutes or so – until the lentils are tender and most of the water has soaked in. Think – an hour / hour and a half-type thing. About 30-45 mins into the cooking process, I added some chopped pumpkin and sweet potato – sort of square-inch sized pieces, and just let them cook along with the rest of it. About 5 mins before the end, I also added some kale and some fresh chopped coriander. The veg is optional, really, but it’s a great, healthy and tasty addition!

Herbalicious

Have it with rice; have it with curry. I had mine with a smashing bit of barra

What a meal – your body will thank you

 

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Give me the chips!

Kale. Beautiful green, wriggly, wiggly kale. If you’ve read anything in the last little while, anything at all, I’m sure that one of those things you’ve read is a tout on how great is kale. It’s low fat, it’s high fibre, no fat, high in iron, high in vitamin k (for all of you people out there that think everything is caused by cancer, vitamin k is supposed to reduce it all), high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory powers, can help lower cholesterol, high in vitamins A and C and high in calcium. Seriously – remember back in school how there was always that obnoxious over-achiever? Was his name Kale? No? Well, it should’ve been.

My super healthy snack for today is kale chips. Yes. You heard it – chips. I’m going to blow your minds by showing you how to make healthy chips quicker than you can zip down to the local store and buy a bag of oily, fatty, salty potato chips.

Let’s make like a tree and leaf

For all of you health nuts out there who are about to rebut my claims of making healthy chips out of kale, yes I get that cooking leaves takes away the goodness. I get that fresh it best. But considering these things are so damn healthy, and considering that if you do like them, it’ll mean you eating lots more kale than you otherwise would…hell, why wouldn’t you chip these things?

To make these little leaves of godliness, you will need:
– Kale. I used about half a bunch – say, 5 leaves, washed and dried
– Olive oil – enough to lightly coat the leaves, so, about a teaspoon
– The smallest amount of salt – half a pinch
– Grated parmesan – just grate as you go, to nicely cover the leaves

Step 1 – tear me apart: preheat your oven to 190 degrees fan forced. Rip apart the kale leaves, discarding that thick stemmy stem, into, say, half the size of your palm. They’ll shrink a little during the baking process. Chuck these in a bowl.
Step 2 – mixaroo: drizzle over a small amount of olive oil – start with about a teaspoon, and then sprinkle over literally half a pinch of salt. Get your hands in there and mix the leaves around, so that they’ll all evenly coated with the oil.

Kale and friends

Step 3 – shake and bake: lay your leaves on a lined baking tray, flat. All we want is one layer. You want the leaves to dry and crisp, not to steam and wane. Whack the tray/s into the oven for 5 minutes, then take out, grate over some parmesan to coat nicely, and put back into the oven. I’ll say that it takes another 5 minutes, but you want to be watching it closely. It only takes half a minute for the leaves to go from epic crunchy bright green-ness to bitter gross brown-ness. When they are still green, but ever so slightly going golden (or as golden as the colour green can go), you want to take them out. Brown = overdone.

So leafy

So wrinkly

Let your trays cool for a couple of seconds, and then eat! Don’t worry – you won’t die – just give it a go. They’re crisp, nicely salted from the parmesan and disappear in your mouth. If they taste bitter, then they’re probably a little overdone. Cook them for a minute less next time.

Munching right on to good heatlh