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We are friends who love making simple food look beautiful. We hope our recipes will inspire you to get into the kitchen this season. Aoife McElwain works in front of the camera writing the recipes and styling the food, while Mark Duggan works behind the camera to make sure it all looks as delicious as possible. We work with editors such as Killian Broderick and music supervisors like Nialler9 to make sure that our finished videos look and sound as smart as possible. We work with brands like Glenisk and Folláin to help them create delicious video content for their online platforms. When we're not making videos, we write a weekly column called Speedy Suppers on Thursdays in The Irish Independent. Aoife writes the recipes and styles the food while Mark takes the photographs.  
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20 Jan coconut dhal

 

Without consciously setting out to, so far this year I’ve only offered up meat-free recipes in this column. January is traditionally the time we drastically cut out or banish ingredients For me, I’ve been changing the way I look at meat for the last couple of years. Instead of looking at it as an essential part to a meal, I’ve started to look at meat as a luxury. A British study in 2014 found that meat-based diets caused twice the climate-warming emissions as vegetarian diets (http://bit.ly/meatdiet).

Thinking about this has led me to look at meat as a treat, to be enjoyed a couple of times a week. Because I’m buying less, I can spend a little more, shopping in reputable butchers such as Coolanowle Organic at Green Door Market and Ennis Butchers, both in my local Dublin 8. Granted, I have the freedom to make this choice because I’m not cooking for a family who have become attached to the meat next to their two vegetables. Arming yourself with a couple of delicious meat-free recipes might help you to incorporate a few meat-free days in your weekly meal routine.

Dhal (also spelled dal or daal) is the Indian word for lentils, but it’s also the word for the soups and curries we make from these pulses. This dhal is a really speedy supper that is particularly comforting at this time of year. I’ve put my trusty curry paste base of mustard seeds, onions and spices to use here, sweetened by the addition of a good dollop of coconut milk.

I’ve used the method of boiling the lentils in the dhal base, because they tend to go very mushy when boiled in a pan of water. I’ve wrecked the bottom of a few saucepans cooking them that way, too. I’ve found giving them a good rinse and then adding them to the sauce is the best way to cook them. Serve it hot or warm, with some good quality naan bread on the side.

Coconut Dhal

Serves 4

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

Vegetable oil

1 teaspoon of brown mustard seeds

1 onion, finely sliced

1 teaspoon of chilli flakes

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon of ground coriander

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

Half a tin of coconut milk

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

300g red lentils

Fresh coriander

1 green chilli

1 lime

Naan bread

Method

1. Heat a drizzle of vegetable oil in a large deep pan over a medium heat. Fry the mustard seeds in the oil for a few minutes before adding Add the finely sliced onion and chilli flakes, and fry gently for ten minutes until the onions have softened and are translucent. Add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes. You want the garlic to start to give off its lovely smell but not to burn. Add the ground coriander and cumin, stir, and cook for another minute.

2. Next, add the tinned tomatoes, half a tin of coconut milk, a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Mix everything really well.

3. Rinse the lentils under cold water and drain. Finally, add the lentils to the pan with the tomato dhal base and bring to a boil. Simmer for twenty minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Season with a bit more salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Serve your dhal with some fresh coriander and chopped green chilli on top, with slices of lime and naan bread on the side.

Storecupboard Essential: Dried Lentils

Lentils can be divided into three main groups: brown, green and red. Brown, such as puy lentils, cook very quickly, while the green (which yellow lentils would fit into) take a little longer and maintain their shape really well. Red lentils cook in less than half an hour, breaking down into a mushy paste, making them perfect for dhals.

This recipe first appeared in The Irish Independent on Thursday 19th January 2017

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