Recipe: Beetroot leaf dhal, by MasterChef's Ollie Hunter

21 February 2020
beetroot leaf dhal

One of the great things about eating from root to fruit is the added variety of flavours and textures available to us. For example, sage flowers have the subtle taste of sage but are a little more floral than the leaves. Pea shoots offer a lighter and more delicate pea flavour than the pea. In this recipe, beetroot stalks bring that earthy beetroot taste, but with added crunch and freshness.

Serves 2

  • 100g dried red split lentils or split peas
  • Oil with a high smoking point such as rapeseed or sunflower, for frying
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Chunk of fresh ginger, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, diced
  • Handful of fresh coriander, stalks diced and leaves left whole
  • 1 red chilli, diced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp ground turmeric
  • 1tsp black mustard seeds
  • 4 fresh tomatoes, chopped (or 400g can of tomatoes)
  • 4 beetroot stalks and leaves,
  • thinly sliced (save the beetroot for another meal)
  • Salt
  • Dollops of plain yogurt, to serve

If you're using split peas, then they'll need to be soaked overnight in plenty of cold water before using.

Put a good amount of oil into a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add the diced onion, ginger, garlic, coriander stalks and chilli and fry until soft.

Once they're soft, add the cinnamon stick, ground spices, mustard seeds and continue to cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and lentils or soaked and drained split peas. Season to taste with salt and stir.

Add 1 litre of cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes if using lentils or 40 minutes if using split peas.

Stir in the sliced beetroot stalks and leaves for the final five minutes of cooking. Serve the dhal scattered with the fresh coriander leaves and dollops of yogurt.

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