Onion bhajis with dahl and almond rice

Allegra McEvedys sumptuous Indian feast looks as rich as can be, yet costs less than a fiver to make
By Allegra McEvedy
Onion bhajis with dahl and almond rice
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the bhajis

  • 150 ml Greek yogurt
  • 75 g gram flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • pinches salt
  • 1-2 green or red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • 30 g coriander, leaves and stalks, chopped
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 1 litres vegetable or sunflower oil, for frying

For the dahl

  • 3 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp each mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and cardamom pods
  • 250 g split peas, yellow or green

For the rice

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 80 g flaked almonds
  • 350 g basmati rice, rinsed and drained

To serve

  • plain or Greek yogurt
  • mango chutney

Method

1. For the bajis: In a large bowl, stir together the yoghurt, flour, spices and salt with 3 tablespoons of water to make a smooth batter and set aside somewhere warm for at least 15 minutes.

2. Once rested, stir in the rest of the bhaji ingredients except the oil, and stand somewhere warm for another 15 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 120C/gas ½ and line a baking tray with kitchen paper. In a large saucepan, heat the oil (make sure it is at least 5cm deep). Check the oil is hot enough by dropping a strand of onion in it needs to fizzle and float, not drop to the bottom. Use a dessertspoon to take blobs of the mixture and drop them into the oil. Cook batches of four at a time until golden brown, then lift onto the kitchen paper to drain using a slotted spoon and keep warm in the oven. Continue with the rest of the mixture until its all been cooked.

4. For the dahl: Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed, medium sized saucepan, and gently fry the garlic and spices for 5 minutes over a low to medium heat, until theyre a deep golden brown.

5. Pour in the split peas and toss them in the garlicky oil, then pour in 750ml of cold water and bring to the boil. Skim any scum off, then lower the heat, cover and simmer steadily for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the peas are soft and theres no water left.

6. Once theyve finished cooking, gently mash the peas with the back of a spoon and season well. If the dahl seems too thick and dry, stir in some warm water to restore it to a creamy consistency. Keep warm.

7. For the rice: While the dahl is cooking, melt the butter in a medium pan over a low heat and gently fry the almonds until golden in colour. Stir in the rice and cover with 500ml water. Put the lid on, bring to a simmer and turn the heat to its lowest setting for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat but leave covered for at least 5 minutes so the rice steams. Fluff with a fork and serve alongside the bhajis and dahl.

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