coconut cavolo dal with lime

i bought my first cavolo nero of the season last week and was keen to try something new with it. old favourites include ribollita, various pasta dishes, pesto plus a lovely barley and pumpkin dish, all of which i am sure will be cooked in the coming weeks, as i tend to get obsessed with this leafy delight.

instead, i took inspiration from a red lentil, kale and coconut dish and cooked a pan of gently spiced coconut and cavolo nero dal. the quantities below are all approximate – you can increase any component if you want to emphasise particular flavours.

having said that, i don’t think the dish needs much, if any, tweaking - i had thought about adding spices at an early stage or finishing it with some fresh coriander leaves but don’t think either are needed. the final touch of lime zest and juice is well worth it though, as this gives a fresh zingy flavour which contrasts nicely with both the creamy coconut and lentil flavours as well as the green grassiness of the kale.

coconut cavolo dal with lime (serves 3-4)

200g red lentils

1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion, finely diced

3-4 cloves garlic, finely diced

a piece of ginger the size of your thumb, peeled and grated

1 chilli, finely diced

a couple of handfuls of cavolo nero leaves, stripped of their central stem then shredded

400ml coconut milk

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

zest and juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper

put the lentils in a bowl and cover with boiling water – leave to soak while you start the rest of the dish.

heat the oil and then add the onions, garlic, ginger and chilli. as these begin to soften add the cavolo nero leaves and cook until they are dark, glossy and have wilted. add the coconut milk and drained lentils, cover and cook over a low heat until the lentils soften. keep an eye on the amount of liquid in the pan, adding water if it gets too dry or you prefer a more soupy texture. add the tomatoes partway though, depending how much you want to cook them - i like mine to retain their shape and still taste quite uncooked.

when the lentils are ready, remove from the heat and season with salt, pepper and the lime zest and juice (taste it when you’ve added half the lime juice, you may not need it all; or indeed you may want more!).