The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

red lentil dhal with spinach fritters

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This recipe for red lentil dhal with spinach fritters is the latest in a monthly series of recipes I have created in association with Suma Wholefoods. In these recipes, I use products from Suma’s extensive range of organic and ethically sourced products, and the recipes appear both here on my blog and on the Suma website.

This lovely dhal could be a meal in itself but it works beautifully as a backdrop to the spicy spinach fritters.

red lentil dhal with spinach fritters


for the spinach fritters
150 g organic spinach, washed, drained and chopped
1 onion finely sliced
180 g gram (chickpea) flour
30 g rice flour
1 green chilli, seeds in, finely chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
15 g fresh coriander, chopped

for the red lentil dhal
200 g organic red lentils, rinsed well in a sieve and drained
1 x 400 g can organic chopped tomatoes
1 x 400 g can organic coconut milk
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red chilli, seeds in, chopped
2 cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp sea salt
500 ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp sunflower oil

1. Begin by making the dhal. Put the garlic, ginger and chilli into a pestle and mortar or food processor and blend to a paste. Pour the oil into a large pan and place over a high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onion. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, for five minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent.

2. Stir in the chilli, garlic and ginger paste along with the salt, turmeric and garam masala, then add the lentils, chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock. Stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for a further 20 minutes, by which time the dhal will have thickened. Stir in the coconut milk and remove the pan from the heat. Set to one side while you prepare the spinach fritters.

3. For the spinach fritters, place the gram flour, rice flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add 200 ml fresh cold water and whisk into a smooth batter. Stir in the chopped chilli and turmeric, followed by the spinach, onion and chopped coriander.

4. Gently reheat the dhal, stirring every so often. Pour sunflower oil into a large deep sided pan to a depth of 5cm and place over a high heat. Once the oil is really hot carefully lower tablespoonfuls of the spinach fritter batter into the pan. Cook the fritters in small batches to avoid crowding the pan. Once they are crisp and golden all over, remove the fritters from the hot oil with a slotted spoon. Drain on kitchen paper.

5. To serve, place a generous helping of red lentil dhal onto each plate together with a few spinach fritters.

Categories: dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian


14 replies

  1. What a fabulous double recipe! I have made a far plainer version of yellow lentil dhal almost weekly for decades, often cooking it to a thicker consistency and using it as a base for wraps and even toast instead of butter. I do not think I have ever used tomatoes . . . Make fritters quite often but, yet again, have not used spinach. Cannot wait to get into the kitchen and very much make both recipes for a newbie and decidedly delicious full meal . . . thanks !

  2. You’ve done it again! How do you manage to combine a selection of my favourite ingredients in almost every recipe you post. LOVE dhal in any form and spinach with everything. Have never made spinach fritters but I make Mucver – also with chickpea flour – often. Can’t wait to try your spinach recipe! Many many thanks.

  3. Wow! What a fabulous recipe. And your photos are stunning!

  4. That looks delicious. I’m not a big lentil fan but I might change my mind and make that. The spinach fritters, however, look absolutely delicious and very similar to an Italian recipe that I make quite often, called spinach timballe. Great post!

  5. Hi Steve, this looks delicious! Looking forward to making this over the weekend. A few queries re clarifying ingredients/instructions:
    1) For the dhal paste, are we using both a 2cm piece of chopped ginger and 1 tbsp of grated ginger?
    2) You mention groundnut oil in the instructions but list sunflower oil in the ingredient list, do you have a preference? Personally I’ll use coconut oil (I get the 6 pack suma odourless own brand myself!)
    3) You list rice flour in the ingredients for the fritters but don’t mention it anywhere in the instructions – is it necessary? Presume we chuck it in same time as other dry ingredients for the batter.
    4) You mentioned chopped coriander in the instructions but it’s not listed in the ingredients. I’ll chuck a load in cos I love it 😉
    Sorry for nitpicking! x

    • Hi Lily

      I am so sorry for the confusion. My recipes often involve a certain degree of trial and error, and I tend to write the initial draft of the recipe up and then amend it as I go through each iteration. In this case, I forgot to make the final amendments. I have now done so, which will make everything much clearer, although I always approve of making the sort of adjustments to a recipe you propose, because you know what you do and don’t fancy.

      I’m really grateful to you for being my unofficial “proof reader”.

      On a positive note, it’s a lovely dish and I’m sure you will enjoy it! Steve 🙂

  6. Really not into lentils so I thought I’d just take a quick look but I ended up checking everything. I had tried cooking similar stuff before and that online delivery service, Feast Box, really helped me out try some ingredients that are hard to find like some listed above. Anyway, will forward this page to a couple of friends who are starting to get fond of cooking!

    • Thank you. I hope your friends will enjoy this recipe. Who knows, may be you might change your view of lentils if you give it a try!

  7. Love this post, Steve. Why does it not have a ‘like’ feature? I am totally into dhals and fritters, and this post is a perfect dedication to the duo. 😊

    • Thank you Rama. I didn’t realise there wasn’t a “like” button, so will investigate. I share your love of this kind of food. I could eat this dhal every day. Steve 😊

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