Spinach Dahl & Rice

Yellow split pea channa dahlIf you’ve not visited Tahmid Stores at 53 Cowley Road, Oxford, I urge you to do so. This independently own Indian/Bangladeshi supermarket stocks Halal meat, a huge range of ethnic groceries as well as fruits and vegetables at very competitive prices. You can tell they are passionate about food simply by the diversity of their product range and the quality of their products. You can buy wholesale items such as 20 kilos of Basmati Rice that makes small packets of supermarket rice seem extortionately priced. Whilst this quantity may take you a year to get through, if you team up with a few friends and split the cost you get yourself a tidy deal.

This family recipe that we ate for dinner last night cost less than £2 to make for 4 people, and there was enough left over the next day for my husband to take for lunch at work. Here’s the recipe:

Frugal Dahl and Rice recipeEasy Spinach Dahl

1. First rinse and then soak 250g dried yellow split peas or channa dahl.

Soaking peas overnight in water shortens their cooking time. But soaking isn’t entirely necessary. Split peas cook relatively quickly. Unsoaked peas take from 1 to 2 hours of simmering; soaked peas take about 40 minutes.

2. Discard the water and boil the peas in 1 litre of fresh water with 1 tsp of salt. Split peas absorb lots of water as they cook, so check the soup often and add liquid as needed.

3. In a frying pan fry 1 small onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 dried chilli and a tablespoon of garam masala for a couple of minutes.

4. Once the peas are very tender and soup like add in 300g of tinned or frozen spinach and cook for another 5 minutes.

5. Add in the fried onion and spices and season with salt, pepper and the juice from a lemon.

6. Serve with Basmati rice and a dollop of natural yoghurt.

How are we doing on nutrition?

Split peas are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fibre. Not only can dried peas help lower cholesterol, they are also of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fibre content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Split peas also provide excellent amounts of molybdenum, manganese, copper, folic acid, vitamin B1, phosphorus, vitamin B5, and potassium with one cup providing nearly 50% of your RDA for all these vitamins and minerals. Coupled with rice, split peas provide all the essential amino acids to form a complete protein. Spinach (as does all green leafy vegetables adds more minerals, this time magnesium and calcium for strong bones and iron for your blood. If you season with lemon juice, the vitamin C from this fruit makes the iron more easily absorbed. All in all, it’s no wonder that Dahl and rice is an Indian staple.

And budget?

250g Yellow split peas = 26p
1 lemon = 30p
Spinach = 60p
Garlic = 20p
Garam masala, chilli, salt and pepper = 20p
Rice = 40p

Total = £1.96 for 4 people


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