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Mrs Persaud’s Guyanese Dhal with Tamarind Yogurt and Pickled Cauliflower

Lentils are an excellent source of plant-based protein, so are particularly beneficial within vegetarian and vegan diets to ensure a good balance of macronutrients. Lentils are used not only for their versatility in cooking, but also for their high fibre content which encourages a healthy digestive system, sustained energy release and increased satiety, meaning a dish like this leaves you feeling really satisfied. Red lentils are packed with nutrients, boasting good amounts of B-vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc, and so in topping up micronutrient levels, help to keep fatigue and tiredness at bay and improve overall wellbeing.

Serves 4


400g red lentils

1 litre of cold water

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

4cm piece of root ginger, peeled and cut into 4

1 tbsp turmeric

4 small green chillies, 2 finely chopped, 2 left whole

2 tbsp coconut oil (or ghee)

2 shallots, finely sliced

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp crushed chilli

4 tbsp coconut yogurt

3 tsp tamarind jam

Coriander leaves, chopped to serve


Place the lentils, water, garlic, ginger, turmeric and chopped chillies into the pan with a pinch of salt; turn down the heat, cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and simmer very gently for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until the dahl has broken down completely and become creamy. Taste and season with salt. Add the 2 whole chillies and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil (or ghee) in a frying pan over a medium high heat and add the shallots. Stir until golden and beginning to crisp, then add the dried spices and cook for a couple of minutes until the mustard seeds are beginning to pop. This process is called ‘chunkay(ing)’.

Tip over the dhal, stir in, and cover with a lid to capture the hot oil mixture of onions and spices hitting the dhal. Then remove the lid and top with chopped coriander.

Make the tamarind yogurt by mixing the two together. Season to taste and add a tiny bit of salt if necessary. Top the dahl with a dollop of yogurt, chopped coriander and a floret or four of the turmeric pickled cauliflower (turn to page 46). This dish should be a lovely balance of sharp, crisp pickle, creamy dhal, spicy heat, sour tamarind and cooling sweet yogurt.

Nutritional Values per portion: 470 kcals / 70g carbs / 9g fat / 28g protein.

Recipes from the kitchen of Poké Food; nutrition that nourishes from the inside out.


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