3 Sep 2009

Returning home...

Curled up on the sofa, snuggled in my block print Fab India quilt, wearing my hot pink pashmina, eating a bowl of homemade dal, rice and ratita I listened to the rain lashing the window. No, the monsoon has not arrived in Delhi. I am home.

I returned to London over a week ago, with a two week detour via friends in Australia, but have so far been in denial that our Indian adventure has come to an end. I couldn’t bring myself to post on here... Only tonight as I ate a late supper to the sound of the rain did it sink in - I am in London for the foreseeable future.

Don’t get me wrong, London will always have a place in my heart. However living in Delhi was the most incredible, laughter, adventure and food filled six months of my life and I actually got kind of used to life Indian style. By comparison, England seems seriously tame. Memories of driving up the road the wrong way in a disco rickshaw, random people asking me the most personal questions whilst grocery shopping, the man who nearly fell off his bike cause he was staring at us so much, taking local cycle rickshaws and getting lost, getting lost a lot, and trying to speak Hindi all made the experience so unique. I got used to anything happening at any moment, learned to go with the flow and slow down. You cannot rush in India.

So I do apologise to any Londoners who get really hacked off walking behind me... I have still yet to get my London pace back. Although I’m not sure I really want to. I like a slower life. I like batch cooking too... knowing that after a night on the town with friends, a bowl of mellowing dal is waiting to be devoured – my ultimate comfort food.

The dal I have made in London is a little different from what I would have cooked in Delhi, using more store cupboard ingredients and without the beloved pressure cooker. Unfortunately, the pressure cooker never made it back to London. My maid had her eye on it, so I gave it to her as a leaving present, along with the contents of my fridge and larder. A new, larger and hopefully calmer vessel is on the birthday list... but until then I am cooking my dal British stylee with quick cooking red lentils, tinned tomatoes and a simple tarka.

Store cupboard Dal

1 cup of red split lentils

2 cups of water

½ tsp turmeric

1 dried red chilli

2 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee

1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic crushed

½ a tin of chopped tomatoes

2 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp chilli

Salt to taste


Rinse the lentils thoroughly in cold water and boil in the 2 cups of water, with the turmeric and dried red chilli until soft.

In a separate pan, heat the oil and crackle the cumin until it splutters, then add the onion and garlic.

Fry until the onion starts to brown, then add the tomatoes, coriander, chilli and salt to taste.

Cook until the oil separates from the tomatoes and onion, and add to the cook lentils.

Best served the day after, with plan rice and raita.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I always add the boiled dhal to the spicy tomato sauce!

(Makes the washing up easier!)