Root Vegetable and Red Lentil Dhal with Paneer

, from Issue #72. May, 2017
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Root Vegetable and Red Lentil Dhal with Paneer

Packed with extra vegetables, these red lentils get simmered with aromatic spices and served with cumin-crusted paneer and crispy poppadums for a light and easy vegetarian dinner. 

Serves: 4-6


1 tablespoon each olive oil and sesame oil  
1 onion, parsnip and carrot, diced
1 large kumara, chopped 3cm pieces
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons ground turmeric
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
1 cup red lentils
3 cups vegetable stock
400-gram tin crushed
Italian tomatoes
400-gram tin black beans, drained and rinsed
sea salt and ground pepper

To serve
good handful chopped coriander or parsley
crisp poppadums or warm flatbreads
thick plain yoghurt
Fried Paneer, see recipe below 

Fried Paneer
1 block paneer
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
⅓ cup cornflour
sea salt and ground pepper
vegetable oil, for cooking


Heat both oils in a large saucepan and add all the ingredients down to and including the chilli flakes. Season well with salt and pepper, cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a splash of water if the pan is too dry.

Add the lentils, stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked and the vegetables are tender but still holding their shape. Stir in the black beans and heat through. 

To serve: Add the herbs to the dhal and serve with poppadums or flatbreads, yoghurt and the Fried Paneer. Serves 4–6

Fried Paneer

Cut each piece of paneer into 8–10 pieces.

Sprinkle both sides of the paneer with cumin seeds and press them on to adhere. Season the cornflour with salt and pepper then coat the paneer, shaking off the excess flour.

Heat a ½cm of oil in a sauté pan and cook the paneer until golden on both sides. Drain on kitchen towels.