Black lentils with tomatoes and cream

11 September 2006
Black lentils with tomatoes and cream
This is the Cinnamon Club's most popular dhal. The kitchen makes three 4kg batches per week for the 130-seater restaurant. The recipe below, which can be made in advance and reheated successfully, is based on 1kg of pre-cooked urad dhal. Ingredients (Serves six to eight) 80ml oil 70g ginger-and-garlic paste (see panel) 3 dried Kashmiri chillies 4tbs tomato puree 1kg cooked urad dhal plus water or cooking liquid Salt 1tsp sugar 150ml single cream 100ml ghee or 100g butter 1tbs garam masala (spice mix based on cinnamon) 1tbs fenugreek leaves, powdered !](![](![](![Method Heat the oil in a large sauteuse till it's hot but not smoking. Stir in the ginger-and-garlic paste (1) and chillies. Cook out until fragrant. Add the tomato puree and cook for about a minute, while stirring. Add the urad dhal and about half their weight in liquid. Turn heat down to medium. For the next 15 minutes, simmer the lentils, pressing them against the sides of the pan with a wooden spoon to mash them slightly. Season with salt and sugar. Pour in the ghee (or butter) (2) and cream (3). Add small quantities and keep simmering and stirring, as the liquid needs to be emulsified. Boil and stir to ensure that the dhal is lightly emulsified. Stir in the garam masala powder (4) and cook out five minutes more. Just before serving, incorporate the powdered fenugreek leaves and check the seasoning. Note: powdered fenugreek leaves are available dried in any Asian store. To powder them, dry them under lamps or in a very low oven and powder them using either a mortar and pestle or by pressing them between the tips of your fingers. Strain them through a fine sieve and discard any stems, etc. Cooking times Urad dhal - about four hours. At the Cinnamon Club, it's put on the stove last thing and left to simmer overnight.
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