Now, that might look like a picture of a bowl of soup. A pretty orangey coloured soup, butternut squash maybe, with a dollop of sour cream? No. What that is, in fact, is a sweet yellow lentil dahl. Yes, like the thing you get with your curry, but in dessert form. As someone who likes lentils very, very much, imagine how delighted I was to find the opportunity for another entire course of lentil. Very delighted, is the answer.
For the less lentil enthused, I argue thus: here is where the blandness of the lentil really works in its favour. It provides a formless, starchy mush, which may not sound appealing, but basically it’s exactly the same job that rice plays in rice pudding only it’s nicely pastel hued. It’s the kind of food you might feel like giving to invalids. There’s a whisper of cardamom, but the great sticky hit of condensed milk prevents it from being in any way elegant. The yoghurt is for contrast – trust me, on first bite it might not seem that sweet, but a few mouthfuls in and – ah, there you go.
Sweet yellow lentil dhal Serves 4
A quick note about lentilly things: I used the tiny yellow moong dal here, the split and hulled version of a mung bean. It mushes down well, I find, because of its diminutive size. However, I feel that the recipe may have had a larger legume in mind because the quantities of water given were far too much and took ages to absorb. I’d say start with a ratio of twice as much water to lentil and top up if necessary.
I halved these quantities, which you may do also, if you want to use the other half of the condensed milk to make baked yoghurt.
1 mug of yellow lentils
2-5 mugs water
6 whole cardamom pods
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp sultanas
1 x 397g tin condensed milk
natural yoghurt, to serve
Place the lentils, water, cardamom and ginger in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 50 minutes with the lid off. The time may vary depending on your lentils, but all the water should be absorbed and the lentils should be soft to the bite. The recipe instructs you here to mash them so the lentils are half-pureed, but mine were really soft, not mashable, more like a savoury dahl.
Add the sultanas and condensed milk and warm for a further 10 minutes on a low heat. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt.
Adapted from Rosie Lovell’s ‘Spooning With Rosie’.