29 September 2019

Spiced Aubergine Daal

Creamy, softly spiced red lentil and coconut daal with squash and spinach, topped with chili roasted baby aubergines. The perfect autumn meal - warm, comforting and super nourishing too!

The daal is delicately balanced with a base of shallots, garlic and ginger, layered with a few toasted spices, the warmth of cinnamon and the addition of lemongrass, lime juice and tamarind to add a little freshness and tanginess to the dish. The baby aubergines are coated in a little chili-garlic paste, roasted until just a little charred and then tossed in oil, they're melt-in-your-mouth delicious and the ultimate accompaniment for this delicious daal.

This meal is packed with nutrients; the red lentils deliver a hefty amount of protein for muscle maintenance and repair, as well as fibre which is essential for a healthy digestive system and helping to maintain blood sugar levels. Lentils also contain generous amounts of contain iron, folate and magnesium, which helps our heart and blood flow. Coconut milk contains good amounts of potassium, essential for maintaining fluid balance and keeping our nervous system in check, it also contains copper and iron - needed for our red blood cell production, keeping our cells well oxygenated and our energy levels where they should be. The squash is packed with vitamin C, essential for our immune systems and vitamin A for our eye health, as well as a whole range of other vitamins and minerals great for our health. Spinach also delivers vitamin A, but the main benefit comes in the vitamin K which helps with blood clotting and regulating blood calcium levels, as well as its all-important role in bone metabolism. Most of the ingredients above also contain a little calcium, essential for our bone health. Aubergines contain small amounts of many different vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium and manganese - important for our muscles, brain and nervous system! 

Spiced Aubergine Daal | Serves: 4 | Time: 45 mins 

You'll need

  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Large saucepan
  • Small pan 
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large baking tray
  • Greaseproof paper (I use reusable like this)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Food processor
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Sieve


  • Splash oil
  • 3 banana shallots
  • 3 inch piece ginger
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/3 cups red lentils
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass paste
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1-1.5 cups water
  • Juice 1 lime
  • 1-2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 large squash
  • 250g baby spinach
  • 8 baby aubergines
  • 2 tbsp chili-garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp oil
To garnish:
  • Black onion seeds
  • Fresh coriander
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Peel the shallot, garlic and ginger and blitz in the food processor, add to a large pan on a low-medium heat with a splash of oil for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, toast the spices in a pan and then after a few minutes, add to the large pan, stir to ensure they don't stick. 
  4. Rinse the lentils and add these to the pan, along with the tamarind, lemongrass, sugar, cinnamon, salt, 1 cup water (you can add more if you need later) and lime juice, stir and then add salt to taste. 
  5. Peel and dice the squash into 2-3cm chunks and add to the pan, bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring often and adding more water if required. 
  6. Cut the baby aubergines into quarters and add to a mixing bowl with 2 tbsp of your favourite chili-garlic paste. Mix together well and spread the aubergines out on a lined baking tray. Roast for 20 minutes at 220°C, then transfer back to the mixing bowl and toss in a little oil. 
  7. A few minutes before the end of cooking, add the spinach and allow to wilt then stir through.
  8. Spoon the daal into bowls and top with the aubergine, drizzle over any remaining oil from the bowl and sprinkle over black onion seeds and fresh coriander. Serve up as is, with naan bread or rice and enjoy! 
Cassidy xx