Red Lentil Dahl

This is my favourite dahl recipe – nutty, spicy, creamy.  It is great with rice or naan or poppadums, or as part of an Indian meal with other dishes.  It also freezes really well, so I often make a double batch and freeze meal-sized portions for an easy week day meal option.


2 cups red lentils

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

Boil 1 litre water in a pot. Add red lentils and cook for 10 minutes.  Add spices and cook another 15 minutes.  Add more water if needed.  Result should be very creamy.


Onion, tomato mixture

2 medium onions, chopped roughly

1/3 cup sunflower oil (or other oil)

6 cloves of garlic, chopped

3cm piece of ginger, chopped

2-4 chopped chillies to taste

4 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup chopped coriander


Heat oil and gently fry onions for about 15 minutes without browning.  Onions should be soft and translucent.  Add garlic, ginger and chillies.  Cook another 10-15 minutes.

Add spices and cook for a minute, stirring to prevent burning.

Add tomatoes and coriander, and cook about 5 minutes until tomatoes are soft, stirring.

Add lentils to onion/tomato mixture and cook gently about 5 minutes to meld all the flavours together.  Check to see if more salt is needed.



Eggplant Zalouk

This dish needs to be made the day before, to allow all the flavours to develop.  It is wonderful as part of a middle eastern meal, or just piled on top of some toasted turkish bread as a spread topped with some ground black pepper.  The key is to grill the eggplant until it is blackened and collapsing, and to use very good quality fresh or canned tomatoes.

2 medium sized eggplants

1/3 cup olive oil

can of tomatoes or 500g ripe tomatoes peeled, seeded and chooped

Tablespoon crushed galic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/t teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup finely sliced coriander leaves

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

salt to taste


If grilling in the oven: halve the eggplants and put cut side down on a foil lined tray.  Grill on high for about 30 minutes until the skin is black and the insides are collapsing.

Alternatively you can roast the whole eggplants on a barbeque, turning now and then, until blackened and collapsing.

Put eggplant in colander and remove the skin.  Allow to drain.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan and gently fry tomatoes, garlic and spices (salt to taste) for about 20 minutes.


Add the chopped skinned cooked eggplant and coriander.  Cook another 15 minutes until very soft.


Add lemon juice to taste, and more salt if needed.

Chill over night to allow flavours to develop.  Serve the following day cold.




Chilli Beans – for tortillas, nachos or on rice

This freezes very well, so I often make extra and freeze in single meal portions for easy week day meals: wrap in a warmed tortilla (I use multigrain tortillas) with guacamole, or tip over some instant steamed rice (I like Tilda brown basmati & quinoa) and top with chopped avocado and tomatoes.

2 x 400g cans red kidney beans, drained

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

2-4 crushed cloves of garlic

1 habanero chilli, very finely chopped (or 2 small thai chillies – to taste)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs (thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, etc)

3 tablespoons dark soy sauce (this makes a difference from normal soy)

about 1 cup vegetable stock



Saute onion in olive oil over moderate heat about 10 minutes until transparent and slightly browned.  Add garlic and fry for couple of minutes.  Add cumin and coriander, stir thoroughly and fry another minute – watch it doesn’t burn.

Add all the other ingredients (use as much vegetable stock as you need to make it reasonably runny – as you cook it down you can add more).

Simmer for at least an hour until thick.

Serve with guacamole, salsa, (optional grated vegan cheese) over tortillas or nachos or rice.


Roast Vegetable Soup

The chilli flakes are optional in here – I like the deep flavour that comes from roasting the vegetables together with some heat.

3 medium eggplants or 2 large

2 red capsicums

6 plum tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 red onions, chopped

8 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)

1/2 cup (total) chopped fresh herbs – basil, oregano, &/or parsley

salt and pepper to taste

1 litre vegetable stock – I use Moredough or Stock Merchant

can of cooked Butter Beans


For the roasting of the vegetables:  I use an over tray, which I line with foil.  I then make little foil ‘nests’ for the eggplants and the capsicums to make it easy to lift them out, and to contain the juices that flow out.

Prick eggplants a few times, and place in oven tray under high heat grill for 30 minutes.  Turn the eggplants.  The skin will go black, which is fine because it will be discarded later.

Add capsicums to the oven tray, and grill eggplant and capsicum for 15 minutes under high heat grill.  Turn eggplant and capsicums.  Add the tomatoes to the oven tray (or put in separate dish below in the oven if there isn’t room).  Grill on high for a further 7 minutes, then turn everything again and grill for another 8 minutes.  You may need to take the eggplant out for these final 15 minutes if it has completely collapsed.

Remove vegetables from the oven.  Scoop eggplant out of skin and retain any moisture that has come out as well.  Remove skin from capsicums and tomatoes, and chop up and put with the eggplant.

WHILE THE VEGES ARE ROASTING:  Gently fry the onions over a low heat in the olive oil for 15 minutes until soft and brown.  Add the chopped garlic and cook for another 10 minutes.  Add chilli flakes if using, salt, pepper and herbs.  Stir and cook for another minute or two.  Add stock and roast vegetables.

Simmer for 20 minutes, then puree with a handheld blender.  Add the drained canned butter beans and warm through.

Serve with bread on the side.




Butter Beans and Tomatoes

If you can get Spanish butter beans they are worth the price, absolutely delicious straight out of the jar. I use ‘NAVARRICO JUDIÓN, LARGE BUTTER BEANS’.

400g butter beans, cooked
400g Italian/Plum tomatoes
3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 tablespoon sundried tomatoes, chopped finely
1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
8-10 basil leaves, or about a tablespoon of fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds etc – keep seeds & insides in a separate bowl. Cut quarters in half.

Drain butter beans, keeping 3 tablespoons of liquid in a separate bowl.

Heat the olive oil over a low heat. Add tomatoes and cook gently for a few minutes.

Add the beans and reserved liquid, squeeze juice out of reserved tomato seeds & insides into pot, add garlic and sundried tomatoes – add salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook gently for about 5 minutes.

Tip into serving bowl and stir through the fresh herbs.

Serve with crusty bread to mop out the delicious juices.

[these photos show just a half quantity of the recipe]

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