Have you ever microwaved a Mini Babybel? I bet you haven’t but it’s amazing. Remarkably though, I’m not a fan of a chilled Babybel which could explain my mad teenage invention in the first place. Five to seven seconds is all it takes to turn a seemingly regular mini cheese, into something wonderful and before I know it, I’m savagely ripping open the second net of cheeses like an animal.
It’s not just me that has an appreciation for this method of eating Baybel’s, my best friend Philippa also shares my dirty cheesy secret. She reminded me last weekend.
“Hey, remember microwaved mini Babybel?”
“OH MY GOD YES! Microwaved BabyBel!… Have you got any?”
“No. Forgot to buy some”
“What the hell?! Don’t tempt if you haven’t got any!” I rage, downing my fifth prosecco and heading for the fridge to stare at the empty cheese tray.
“Soz” she says, rather unapologetically. She taps her phone and puts on Sir Mixalot’s ‘Baby Got Back’. We swiftly forget all about Babybel’s and start vigorously thrusting and dancing around the kitchen.
Anyway, we can’t live off microwaved Baybels can we… Can we? No, no we can’t, we need to eat sensible dinners like this rather delightful dhal recipe. Although with all this talk of Babybel’s, I wouldn’t’ be surprised if I found you all submerging mini cheeses into your dhal. The heart wants what it wants, just remember to peel the wax off first.
Coconut dhal with homemade flatbreads
Serves 4 / Total time 50 mins / V Vn Df Gf* ❄
Dahl: Hands on time 15 mins / Total time 45 mins
1 tsp of coconut oil/sunflower oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves or 4 small, crushed
Knob of ginger, grated
4 cardamon pods
Half tsp mustard seeds
Half tsp garam masala
Half tsp cumin
Half tsp turmeric
Pinch of chilli flakes
1 litre of vegetable stock, I use Knorr
300g of red lentils
Can of coconut milk
200g bag of spinach
2 corn on the cobs
170g wholemeal flour* + extra for dusting
Half tsp salt
Half tsp mustard seeds
Handful chopped coriander
1 Tbs sunflower oil
*Use gluten free flour if sensitive to gluten.
❄ Dhal is suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.
TIP: If you’re after something a little less fussy and time consuming, simply make the dhal and serve with warm shop bought flatbreads. Leave out steps 6, 7, 8 and 9.
1. Start the Dahl by peeling and chopping your onions nice and small. Put them in a large pot with a tsp of oil on a medium heat until soft (this should take 5 – 10 minutes). If the onions start looking a little brown, add a touch of water to prevent them from burning, this will help them steam.
2. In a pestle and mortar or using the back of a tablespoon on a chopping board, crush your cardamon pods until the seeds spill out, discard the shells and put the seeds to one side.
3. Once the onions are soft, add the crushed garlic, grated ginger and all the spices. Give it a good stir, season well with salt and continue to cook for a couple of minutes.
4. Add the vegetable stock, coconut milk and the lentils and give it a good stir. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 25 – 30 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent the lentils sticking to the bottom of your pot. Recipe for the dhal ends here.
5. If making your own flatbreads, measure 170g of wholemeal flour in a mixing bowl. Add the salt, mustard seeds and a handful of freshly chopped coriander and give it a good stir with a wooden spoon. Once incorporated, add the water and the oil. Stir again until you have a smooth dough, (it will be a little wet). Put to one side and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Once rested, dust a surface down with a bit of flour and divide your dough into four balls. Roll each individual ball into a thin disk – remembering to flour your surface between each flatbread. Heat a dry, non-stick pan on a medium to high heat and add one flatbread at a time and cook for a minute on each side until they have a bit of colour. Transfer to a plate and keep them warm in an oven at a low temperature (50°C).
6. To make the topping, place your corn in a large saucepan and cover with boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes, remove carefully and transfer to a clean tea towel to cool. Meanwhile wilt the spinach in a separate saucepan a couple of handfuls at a time in a bit of coconut oil, adding a little salt and pepper as you go. Do this on a low to medium heat. Once wilted, take off the heat and cover with a lid to keep warm. Put to one side and discard any excess water from the spinach.
7. By now your corn should be cool enough to handle so carefully impale the corn on the end of a fork and hold over an open flame on the hob, turning carefully (this will give your corn a lovely charred look and taste). This step is optional. Once charred, stand your corn upright, on a chopping board and slice carefully down the sides with a sharp knife removing the kernels.
8. Serve the dhal topped with the charred corn and wilted spinach, along with warm flatbreads and rice.
If you’ve had a go at making my dhal or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it. @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org