A dal is a dish of simmered lentils flavoured with aromatic spices and usually served as a sauce. But add extra vegetables and it becomes a light and easy vegetarian meal. Serve it with a selection of Indian-style breads and plain yogourt or raita.
Put the onion, garlic, chili pepper, carrot and eggplant into a flameproof casserole dish or large saucepan and stir in the oil and water. Heat until it starts to sizzle, then cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes until softened.
Uncover and stir in the spices. Cook for 1 minute, then stir in the lentils and stock. Bring to a boil, then add the zucchini and tomato.
Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes, then uncover for a further 5 minutes, by which time the lentils should have burst open and thickened the liquid. Serve garnished with coarsely chopped cilantro.
Cook's tip: This can be made a day in advance, then reheated. You may need to add a little more water if it has thickened too much. It is also suitable for freezing.
Variations: For a more authentic dal, use yellow split peas instead of the lentils. These will need to be soaked in cold water for about 2 hours first. 'Instead of a zucchini, add 250 grams baby spinach leaves at the end of step 3 and cook for about 2 minutes, until just wilted, before seasoning.
Each serving: 6.5 g protein, 6 g fat of which 0.5 g saturates, 14.5 g carbohydrate, 7.5 g fibre, 152 Calories