Aubergine daal with coconut topping
Cooking for a group with different dietary requirements doesn’t have to mean slaving away in the kitchen, preparing lots of different meals, as this delicious aubergine daal proves. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free and meat-free, but packed full of aromatic flavour. With a base of red split lentils, the added spices give enough heat to warm you up on those cooler autumn nights and while the desiccated coconut topping adds satisfying sweetness and texture. Try serving it at your next dinner party, but be warned, your guests will probably want seconds.
For the daal
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 garlic cloves
A thumb-size piece of ginger, grated
1 red onion, finely diced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
250g red split lentils
1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
400ml vegetable stock
For the aubergine topping
4 baby aubergines, sliced into strips
1 tsp cumin seeds
For the coconut topping
50g desiccated coconut
1 tsp nigella seeds
300g Basmati rice to serve
1 Preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4.
2 Melt the coconut oil in a large pan and fry the garlic, ginger and onion on medium until softened.
3 Turn the heat up slightly and add in the spices. Allow these to cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
4 Add in the lentils and mix well, then stir in the coconut milk and vegetable stock.
5 Bring this to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 40-45 minutes or until the lentils have softened completely.
6 Meanwhile, toss the sliced aubergine strips in a little olive oil and cumin seeds and lay on a baking tray. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden and softened.
7 In a small bowl, mix the coconut and nigella seeds and prepare the basmati rice according to the packet instructions.
8 When the daal is ready, check for seasoning and turn off the heat. Then add in the spinach and allow to soften in the pan.
9 Serve the rice with the daal spooned on top and top with the aubergine and a teaspoon of the coconut topping.