This dhal is great for settings with children with allergies as most of the main allergens (wheat, dairy, eggs) do not feature. The spinach and lentils are fabulous to get much-prized iron into children’s diets, and the squeeze of lemon gives a little hit of vitamin C, which helps with iron absorption. The flat breads are easy for children to help make and are savoury and delicious.
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 garlic clove crushed
1 tsp finely grated ginger
(optional) 1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 ½ tsp turmeric
1 ½ tsp cumin
2 sweet potatoes cut into chunks
250g red lentils
800ml low-salt vegetable stock
80g bag of baby spinach
A squeeze of lemon juice
Heat oil in a heavy based pan, add onion and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add garlic, ginger and chilli (if using) and cook for one minute then add spices and cook for a further minute.
Turn up the heat to medium and add sweet potato and stir everything together so that the potato is well coated in the spice mix.
Tip in the lentils, stock and seasoning. Bring the liquid to the boil.
Then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender and sweet potato is cooked but still holding its shape.
Add the baby spinach leaves as they are, or, if your child isn’t keen on spinach then whizz the raw leaves in a food processor till finely chopped and add to the dhal. Cook for a further two minutes. Just before you serve, add a squeeze of lemon juice and stir in.
Serve with flat breads or rice.
100g plain flour
200g plain wholemeal flour
Pinch of salt
100 fl oz warm water
2 tbsp olive oil (extra for cooking)
Put flour and pinch of salt into a large bowl.
Add two tablespoons of olive oil and work into the flour with finger tips.
Gradually add the water a little at a time, bringing the dough together with your hands.
If the dough is too sticky then add a little more flour.
Tip: do not wash sticky, doughy hands! Instead add a little flour and rub hands together to remove the dough.
Knead the dough for about five minutes until it is a smooth, soft consistency.
You can use dough immediately or cover with cling film and leave to rest for 30 mins.
Divide the dough into four to six balls – depending on the size of flat bread you want.
On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll out the flatbreads to about 5mm thick.
Add a drizzle of olive oil to a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.
Cook each flat bread for approximately two minutes on each side. Pop into a warm oven covered with a clean tea towel to keep warm while you make the rest.