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Amelie Rose’s “Otter” Dahl

by | Mar 3, 2022 | Galley Slave's Squawks

Don’t panic! No actual otters get harmed in the making of this dish – in fact it’s vegan friendly unless you decide to use beef dripping instead of healthy (!) olive or rapeseed oil. What it does include is lots or earthy goodness and mouth-watering flavours whether it’s served as a main, a side-dish or a thick hearty soup.

We love dahl and always used to do one as a side-dish whenever we were cooking up a curry but after enjoying a really tasty version cooked by a guest last year, we’ve upgraded it to being the star of the show now and then via the addition of lots of lovely earthy veg and a tin of tomatoes. The “Otter” tag comes from the original recipe being a mucked about version of the brilliant Madhur Jaffrey’s Tarka Dahl and an affection for a certain 1979 Film…

Serves 8 hungry sailors

Find this stuff:

Red Lentils (500g if serving as a main dish, 250g as just a side)

Water (Initially, enough to cover the lentils plus 1 cm or so – then either 1000ml or 500ml depending on main or side as above)

Veg Stock (2/1 cubes – we use Kallo Organic Low Salt)

For the “Chock”

Garlic (1 bulb/ ½ bulb)

Chilli (2/1 red chillies thinly sliced or 2/1 rounded teaspoons chilli flakes)

Onions 3/2 Red or White (or mixed) onions

Oil (We use Olive or Rapeseed) – 100ml/50ml

Plus, for “Main Dish” version

1 small Cauliflower (cut into small florets/partial florets)

2 large Carrots (approx. 1cm dice)

2 Parsnips (approx. 1.5cm dice)

1 largish Sweet Potato (1.5 cm dice)

1 tin Chopped Tomatoes (opened ideally)

1 tin/small bag Spinach (tin keeps longer and takes up less space)

Now do this:

Put the lentils in a pan that’s big enough to hold all of the ingredients (not forgetting that the lentils will expand during cooking). Cover them with water (plus 1cm or so) and bring to the boil.

While this is going on put the oil, onions, garlic and chilli into a deep frying pan (or wide saucepan). Fry over a medium heat until the onions are just starting to brown. If doing the “main dish” version now add the hard veggies (not the tomatoes or spinach) in and stir well. Continue to cook and stir until the veggies are just starting to soften. If the lentils aren’t yet ready for “Chocking” (see below) then you can turn this off and let it rest.

At some point during the above, the lentils will have started to run out of water. Make up the stock and add all of this to the pan – turn down to a fast simmer. A froth will form which you can skim off.

Once the lentils are starting to thicken again add the oil (and veggies) to the lentil pan. Adding the oil like this is known as “Chocking” – it can spit so watch out. Stir all of this together really well and turn down to a low simmer.

Add the toms and the spinach and keep stirring regularly until the veggies are soft and the lentils nice and thick.

Serve with rice or mashed potato (or even once, over baked spuds) – a small tomato/cucumber/red onion salad and some mini naan will complement nicely too! Yum!

Let us know how you get on in the comments below.

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  1. Stuart

    Nice. Will try this. I do a similar dahl with sweet potatoe, garam masaala and coconut. Maybe chorizo too.

    • The Skipper

      Ooooh – that sounds yum!

  2. Jon (pasty) Hardwick

    mmm, sounds nice, I was thinking some chick peas, chopped celery in the main dahl and a large handful of ripped up basil for aromatics added at the finish! (I wonder how a bottle of Otter Ale would go in the stock, Probably better to drink it whilst preparing the veg!)

    Good luck for your season and the eventual move to new pastures Nic. I dont think I will forget my ten days in Guernsey doing the school trips, It was a shock but I realised I had learned a lot once I had time to think about it all afterwards!!

    • The Skipper

      Hey Jon – really good to hear from you! I love the add on ideas for the dahl – especially the Otter Ale stock… Stay well and take care – Nic


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