One of my favourite things, before lockdown, was getting the train to Kings Cross and enjoying a long lunch with my friends at Dishoom. Loud and cavernous, Dishoom always provided the right cover for us to put the World to rights and plan our next big trip abroad. Before going fully plant-based, my favourite dish on the menu was always the Black Dal and I’ve been trying to re-create it at home ever since. This recipe, courtesy of Sasha Gill via her wonderful book Jackfruit and Blue Ginger, comes closest. It requires a bit of forethought as the dal has to be soaked for a few hours, but it’s worth it. I tend to add a few more spices when I make it but I have left the recipe as it is so you can adjust to suit. You can find urad dal online.
220g whole urad dal (black gram), soaked for at least 4 hours, preferable overnight
1x400g tin of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp cumin seeds (you can use cumin if you don’t have the seeds)
1 large white onion, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2.5cm ginger, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1 tsp chili powder
125ml plant milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
60ml soy cream
Chopped Cashew Nuts
1/ In a large saucepan bring the urad dal, kidney beans and 1 litre of water to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the urad dal is cooked through and is soft.
2/ While the dal is cooking, heat some vegetable oil in a pan and fry the cumin seeds over a medium heat until they;re aromatic. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry until the onion as translucent and soft.
3/ Add the tomatoes and chili powder and cook over a low heat until the tomatoes are saucy (3-5- minutes)
4/ When the dal is cooked, use a potato masher and mash the urad dal and kidney beans into their cooking water, so it thickens.
5/ Return the pan to the heat and stir in the onion mixture, along with the milk and salt. Cook until the dal is thick (about 15 minutes) then stir in the garam masala.
6/ Take it off the heat and stir in the soy cream. Dish up and garnish with the coriander leaves and chopped cashews.
We usually have this with stir fried greens and naan to re-create the Dishoom experience.