British Dal Festival - 21-31 March 2020


Rasam is a Southern Indian soupy tomato dhal flavoured with tamarind. It’s a super quick dhal to make as it’s made with red lentils that cook quickly. This recipe is from Rachel Demuth of Demuth’s Cookery School, where the dish is part of their Southern Indian Cookery classes, served with idlis and coconut chutney.

This wonderful recipe from Kolkata has been shared with us by Chetna Makan, from her book Chai, Chaat & Chutney: A Street Food Journey Through India. “This special lentil dish from Kolkata is prepared in a way that is very different to how I would normally cook moong dal.”

Cook, teacher, writer and food producer Bini Ludlow first learnt traditional Gujarati cooking from her mother at home in Bradford at the age of eight. We’re delighted that she’s shared her mum’s recipe for ondhwa, a vegetable cake of dal, as well as her first memories of eating dal.

Maunika Gowardham has contributed this recipe for Dal Khichdi – lentils and rice cooked with turmeric, garlic, chilli and curry leaves. “A classic dal khichdi is a hug in a bowl!”

Kalpna Woolf, founder of 91 Ways to Build a Global City, has contributed this recipe from her mum, along with its story. This dal can be either eaten as a one-bowl dinner or as a soup. It tastes even better the next days so make double the quantity.

A wonderfully comforting dal from Naomi Devlin’s Food for a Happy Gut. “Dal is a delicately spiced sauce made from split peas or lentils that can be either porridgey or thin as a soup, according to your whim. Split mung beans (moong dal) make the most easily digested dal, so if you’re adding pulses to your diet, this is a great intro dish.”

“This is one of my most treasured recipes: I crave it frequently and never tire of it. It’s a foolproof dish, robust and endlessly adaptable, and it yields a result far greater than the effort required to make it.”

Punj Rattani Dal, “Dal of Five Jewels”, is a dal fit for a feast, made of 5 different pulses – chana dal (split chickpea), toor dal (split pigeon pea), whole moong (mung bean), whole urad (black gram) and whole masoor (red lentil).

Best known as an accompaniment to fish and chips, mushy peas have much more to offer. Here’s Jenny Chandler’s recipe for simple but sublime classic mushy marrowfat peas, with a solution to achieving a rich green colour without food colouring, and suggestions for mouth-watering ways to serve them.