Sweet apricot and cauliflower dal

Sweet apricot and cauliflower dal

The Green Kitchen
Johanna Frenkel

I have had a food crush on India for as long as I can remember. I have been there a few times, and am always struck by the huge variety of vegetarian food, based on lentils, beans, potatoes, cauliflower, okra, peas, paneer cheese, fruit and spices. They always manage to combine strong and bold flavours with mild and sweet, into amazing soups, stews and stir-fries. In this recipe all the different spices trigger an explosion of flavours, which is rounded off with sweet, dried apricots and coconut milk. We often make our own spice blend, which basically is a way for us to increase the flavours of the standard supermarket curry spices.


Quantity Ingredient
1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1/2 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch chilli powder
6 unsulphured dried apricots, chopped
2-3 tablespoons Ghee, for frying
or 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil, for frying
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
2 carrots, sliced
200g red lentils, rinsed
750ml coconut milk
200g spinach, coarsely chopped
sea salt
1 large handful coriander


  1. Start by making the spice blend. Grind the first coriander, mustard and cardamom seeds in a pestle and mortar. Add the curry powder, ground cloves, ground ginger, chilli powder and apricots and use your fingers to mix it together.
  2. Heat the ghee in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the spice blend and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Fry until it smells fragrant and looks browned, but be careful the spices do not burn. If it feels too dry add a spoonful, or more, of water.
  3. Add the onion and garlic and fry a couple of minutes while stirring. Add the cauliflower and carrots and stir until they are fully coated by the spices. Now add the lentils, coconut milk, and 225 ml water and stir well and simmer, covered, for 15–20 minutes or until the vegetables and lentils are cooked through.
  4. Add the spinach and stir through. Top with the coriander and serve as it is or with cooked brown or wild rice. Add salt to taste.
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