First of all, thank you all for your kind words and recovery wishes. I’m really touched. As my silence here and on social media may tell, I haven’t recovered yet. My shingles is less aggressive now, but still very active. I have been way too nomadic in recent weeks, and noticed that when travelling, my shingles get worse and I loose sleep. Since my sleep is unpredictable and agitated, I lay down on my bed whenever possible – an advantage of doing a PhD: my schedule is quite flexible! I don’t forget, however, that it is probably the stress induced by my thesis, and the corresponding sleep deprivation, which made me sick.
Cooking, as always, soothes me. I made some dietary adjustments after reading a lot about the connection between shingles and the diet, especially plant-based diets. This gave me the opportunity to experiment with ingredients that usually I don’t cook with, to replace those I’m avoiding temporarily. I’ll find time to talk about it in more detail on the blog. What I can’t give up, however, is dahl. Today’s is, without a doubt, the most scrumptious I’ve ever made. I cooked it for the first time for my lovely sister-in-law Alice, who loves eggplant. Justin is crazy about this recipe, and so am I. This winter, I’ll use sweet potato instead of eggplant and serve this dahl to all my friends for dinner (so they don’t get tired of Justin’s chana masala).
- 500 g red lentils, split
- 200 ml coconut milk (full-fat)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 eggplants/aubergines
- 2 onions
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, or 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1.5 tsp garam masala
- 1 cm fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp hot chili powder
- 1 jar whole tomatoes
- salt, to taste
One day ahead, or a few hours ahead, soak the lentils in a large bowl of water. Then, drain and rinse.
Place the lentils in a large pot with the coconut milk, turmeric and bay leaves. Add water, up to 1/2 cm above the pulses, and bring to a boil, simmering regularly.
Meanwhile, dice the onion, garlic and eggplant.
In a large frying pan, heat up the oil. Add the onion and garlic, as well as the spices and fresh ginger (grated). Cook on high heat until the onions become translucent. Then, add the tomatoes and aubergines, a drop of water or apple cider vinegar, put on a lit and let cook for 10 minutes on high heat. Add water if needed.
Add the onion-spice-eggplant mixture to the lentil pot. Combine well and cook on medium heat until quite thick. Add water as you go if the mixture is too dry, although it shouldn’t be. Stir well so as to prevent sticking at the bottom.
Last, add salt to taste.