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Wild Dahl

I have always loved dahl. Its deeply warming and satisfying, and comes in so many variations. This Wild Dahl recipe uses hedgerow seeds to make a truly heavenly dish. Even though I am blowing my own trumpet, I have to say this simple dahl recipe surpassed even my expectations.

We have some truly divine wild spices in our hedgerows!

Over the Autumn I collected rock samphire, wild fennel and alexanders seeds, combined them with some dried pine needle shoots (think rosemary) and a little turmeric and you have a dahl recipe mix that will have your tongue slapping about wanting more.

Ingredients Part 1: Dahl Mix

  • 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped)
  • 1 fresh red chili (chopped, seeds & all)
  • 1 cup of dried red lentils
  • 2½ cups of water

Ingredients Part 2: Wild Spice Mix

  • ½ tsp rock samphire seeds (ground)
  • ¼ tsp wild fennel seeds (ground)
  • ½ tsp alexanders seeds (ground)
  • ½ tsp dried pine shoots (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • salt & pepper

Grind and mix together all the spices into a course powder. Use as instructed below.

Suggested Instructions

  1. Fry onions until translucent, then add the Wild Spice mix along with the garlic, red pepper, red chili and continue frying until the onion starts to brown.
  2. Add the lentils, stir quickly to coat them in the mixture, then add 2 cups of water.
  3. Bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer until the lentils have dissolved into a thick sauce. You may need more water, so keep an eye on the dahl.
  4. Serve on its own or with rice or chapati or bread.

About the Author Robin Harford

Robin Harford is a self-taught ethnobotanist, and has spent over a decade traveling, researching, recording and uncovering the traditional and contemporary use of wild plants in Britain and beyond. More recently his work has taken him to Africa, India, SE Asia and Europe. He is a co-director of Plants & Healers International, a non-profit that connects people, plants and healers around the world.

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