Recently I had some very lovely and willing friends around to help me trial a new product. I think they would have done it anyway but I did offer a little carrot: a very nice dal with freshly fried popadoms with bombay potatoes and spinach fresh from the allotment. It was a very lovely evening with no horrible pre-meal stress because this meal is such a good one to turn to when you are having more guests than you are used to cooking for. The meal is easy, low cost, delicious and very protective for your health. It was a no-brainer. I made the dal again last night, this time with just some plain organic white basmati rice and some very simply sautéed spinach in olive oil and salt. There were no leftovers…
The spices in the dal turn this meal into a literal medicinal prescription. Who wouldn’t want the heart-protective, anticancer, thermogenic and anti-inflammatory benefits of garlic, ginger and turmeric wrapped up in a delicious meal to share.
Turmeric operates as an anticancer agent in several ways, one of its most interesting being that it is anti-angiogenic. In other words, it prevents new blood vessel growth supply to a tumour, a very important point to inhibit growth. Ginger has been shown to reduce colon cancer pre-markers in a matter of weeks and garlic is powerfully protective for the heart amongst a myriad of other benefits including being antibacterial/fungal/viral. These spices combined also pack a powerful thermogenic hit, speeding up your basal metabolic rate by up to 10%.
If you have an evening of entertainment coming up then this could get you out of a recipe dilemma, otherwise it could be the perfect excuse to feed someone you love. Without further ado, here is the recipe:
One cup (250ml) red split lentils (soaked in water from the morning)
One medium onion diced
1 bulb of garlic finely diced
1.5 inch fresh ginger finely diced
1 flat tsp turmeric
2 flat tsp cumin powder
2 flat tsp coriander powder
¼ teaspoon of cayenne powder (or more depending on how spicy hot you like food)
Good half teaspoon of sea salt (add more to taste)
2 dessert spoons tomato puree
Half squeezed lemon
Heaped teaspoon mango chutney
Fry the onion for a few minutes until soft over a medium heat in some olive oil then add the diced garlic and ginger. Fry for a further 3 minutes or so, don’t allow to burn and go bitter. Add all the dried spices and fry for a further few minutes until the spices smell more aromatic.
Rinse and strain the soaked lentils until the water runs clear. Drain and add to pan of spices with the tomato puree. Add 1.5 to 2 cups of water and bring to the boil and simmer with the lid off for approximately 20 minutes to half an hour (soaking speeds cooking time and enhances nutritional value and digestibility of the lentils). Adjust the water by adding more if needed or keeping lid off to evaporate more liquid off. Towards the end add a heaped teaspoon of mango chutney and lemon juice, add more salt to taste.
Serve with fresh coriander and perhaps side dishes above. If you can, I would highly recommend getting the uncooked popadoms from an Indian spice shop and frying them yourself in some cheap coconut oil. Coconut oil is safe to reuse and can simply be poured back into a jar for use another time if you are deep frying. Fresh popadoms are just so much better that pre-fried. I also love Geeta’s chilli and mango chutney.
Antiangiogenic effect of turmeric: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006291X02023069