Tomato Dal With Crispy Paneer

Tomato Dal With Crispy Paneer

by Martin Hill

This delicious dal recipe comes to us from Martin Hill. Made with warming spices like black cardamom, cinnamon and smoked paprika. Our Organic Olive Green Lentils are a great addition to any dal, as they keep their shape well and bring a nutty flavour. Topped off with crispy paneer and quick pickled red onion.

We’re very lucky to have a couple of lovely recipes from Martin, but if you’d like more you can head over to Barcombe Nurseries’ website. Martin not only runs the organic farm and veg box scheme there, but he also develops seasonal recipes for their customers.


  • 1 Onion, finely diced
  • A little butter or olive oil for sautéing
  • 5 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • ½ tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 Black cardamom pods
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp Curry powder
  • 1 tsp Smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp Chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp Tomato puree
  • 250g Olive green lentils
  • 4 Vine tomatoes, roughly diced
  • ½ Tin coconut milk
  • 750ml Vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp Sugar
For the paneer
  • 400g Paneer
  • Sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp Nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp Curry powder
  • Pinch of Sea salt
For the onion quick pickle
  • 1 Red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 Lemon, juice
  • Pinch of Salt


Prepare the Quick Pickle

Halve and finely slice the red onions, put them in a small bowl and squeeze over the juice of a lemon and a good pinch of salt. Mix well and set aside.

For the Dal

Heat the butter or oil in a large pan and sauté the onions with the whole spices for 3-4 minutes until the onion is soft. Using a fine grater, grate the garlic and ginger into the pan and cook for a couple of minutes more. Add the ground spices along with the tomato puree and fry for another 2 minutes then add the lentils, tomatoes and sugar.

Add the coconut milk along with the stock. Mix well and simmer for around 45 mins stirring often. Add more water part way through cooking if needed.

For the Crispy Paneer

Cut the paneer into large chunks. Gently toss the paneer in the sunflower oil, nigella seeds, curry powder and a pinch of sea salt until evenly coated. Bake on a tray in the oven at 180C (fan) or 200C for 20-30 mins until browned and crispy

To Serve

Serve the dal with the crispy paneer on top, scatter over the quick pickled onions. 


Martin Hill
Martin Hill


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