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Gujarati Vaal Dhal - made with Split Fava Beans

Inspired by the cuisine of the Gujarat region of India, this dhal is made with Split Fava Beans, a common substitute for the more traditional local hyacinth beans.

Vaal Dhal is superb made with Split Fava Beans but it can also be made with sprouted Whole Fava Beans (which should be thoroughly cooked).

If you're hungry and in a hurry, try our organic canned Vaal Dhal, developed from this recipe.

Serves: 6

Ingredients for the Dhal

  • 400g Split Fava Beans
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 4cm piece of root ginger, peeled and cut into half a dozen chunks
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4 or 5 small green chillies, 2 finely chopped, 2 or 3 left whole

Ingredients for the Tarka

  • 2 tbsp oil - ideally groundnut (or ghee), but sunflower is fine
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced (or a small red onion)
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • Bunch of fresh coriander, chopped to serve

Method for the Dhal

  1. Put the beans in a large heavy-bottomed pan with a lid and cover with cold water.
  2. Bring to the boil for 10 minutes then drain, rinse and return to the pan.
  3. Cover with about 2 litres of cold water, bring back to the boil and add the garlic, ginger, turmeric and chopped chillies with a pinch of salt.
  4. Turn down the heat and put the lid on – leaving space for steam to escape.
  5. Simmer the dal very gently, stirring occasionally and checking that it isn’t sticking – add a little more water if required.
  6. After 30 to 40 minutes the beans will have broken down and become creamy.
  7. Now either add a little boiling water or reduce the dal further to achieve your preferred consistency.
  8. Season to taste – be quite bold with the salt and perhaps try a little sugar.
  9. Stir in the two whole chillies and simmer for a further 15 minutes.

Method for the Tarka

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the shallots.
  2. Stir until golden and beginning to crisp, but don’t allow to burn.
  3. Add the dried spices and cook for a couple of minutes until the mustard seeds are popping.

To Serve

  1. Stir the spices and shallots (the tarka) and half the chopped coriander into the dal.
  2. Garnish with the remaining chopped coriander.

Josiah Meldrum
Josiah Meldrum


2 Responses

Mick North
Mick North

May 23, 2016

Do you leave the garlic cloves, pieces of ginger and the whole chilli in the dish, or remove before serving?

Kelley Greenbaum
Kelley Greenbaum

July 12, 2015

Keep up the excellent work! and many thanks for taking the time to write this.

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