Dhal and Salmon Deliciousness and my Favourite Photo.

Should this really be all about the fish? The salmon is nothing spectacular though it was pretty tasty. All that was involved in the prep was to sprinkle it with some piment d’Espelette and whack it under a medium grill. Should it be about the wine? All that was involved there was putting a bottle of Gewurztraminer in the fridge and pulling the cork later. Should it be about the dhal? Perhaps it should. But, the thing of which I am most proud is the ingredients photo. She’s a beauty!

You have to agree, this is a lovely photo. Tell me you agree!

The photo is so clear that an ingredients list is almost superfluous. Having said that, here it is anyway;

Ingredients for Dhal and Salmon Deliciousness 

  • 3 darns of organic or wild Atlantic salmon
  • 1.5 teaspoons of piment d’Espelette
  • 300 grammes of yellow split peas
  • 150 grammes (or thereabouts) baby spinach leaves
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 teaspoons of ginger root, finely sliced
  • 1.5 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garam marsala
  • Half a teaspoon of black pepper
  • Half a teaspoon of sea salt
  • Juice of a lime

I’ve told you how to prepare the salmon and how to get the wine going and I have shown you the photo of the ingredients. So, I think the dhal is all that’s left here. That’s not a bad thing. This was the first time I have ever made a dhal. It won’t be my last. I can hear most of the food world sniggering at my lack of dhal experience. However, now that I know, I know and I will do dhals to death over the coming months. Start by chopping the onions up nice and small.

Onions are at the core of every great dhal.

Chop the ginger and put a frying pan on to heat. Dry Fry the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Remove and reserve. Add some butter or oil and the onions. When they are starting to go a little translucent, add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, salt, ground pepper and chilli powder. Grind the mustard seeds and cumin seeds to a powder. Throw them in too.

There’s a lot of flavour and colour in the frying pan right now.

Stir this over a medium heat until the spices are nicely cooked. You will know because the aroma rising from the stovetop will take on a nice nutty note. They will have turned a nice rich brown colour too.

Nearly there. The flavours are amazing. The aromas better.

Turn the heat off and cook the split peas. Follow the instructions on the packet. It’s really easy. When they are about three quarter’s cooked, add the spice mixture.

Note how brown the spice mix is. Lots of nutty flavours in there.

Continue to cook the dhal until it is ready. You may need to add a bit of extra water to achieve the desired consistency. It is a very forgiving dish. When it’s just about ready, stir in the spinach leaves. They will wilt in a couple of minutes. Then serve it with the salmon and wine as mentioned above. I garnished mine with a few sprigs of coriander.

Simple food prepared simply. Try it.

I really should say something profound about this dish. There is nothing profound to say except that it was fantastically tasty. I also got to feature the fish plate that the Wife gave me last Christmas. Having said all that, the high point for me was that ingredients photo. I wish I could be that happy about every shot I take.

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  • It is a beautiful photo, but all of yours are! That cutting board is stunning. A fabulous meal. Welcome to the world of dhal!

  • It certainly is lovely 🙂 I love daal, will try your recipe as it looks delicious.

  • Great pic. Nice dhal. No more dilly-dhalying about, make another!

  • Yes Conor that photo, in fact all your photos, are beauties. It’s a good enough reason to cook good food, photography.

  • That’s a great combination!

  • That is a truly fantastic photo. I expect to see it popping up on websites all over the world 😉 I love dhal, such a comforting dish while being relatively healthy.

  • It’s not ‘Dhal’ … It’s ‘Daal’.
    🙂

  • That is a great shot! Love the reflection of the cutting board and garlic in front and of the salmon behind the cutting board.

  • This looks like a great recipe for daal .

  • That shot is worthy of a still life by a Dutch painter. By which I mean it’s inspirational, moody, evocative, and very, very tasty. And for those who say it should be Daal instead of Dhal, you were going for the Sri Lankan version, weren’t you, which is of course Dhal…?

  • The food looks amazing and the photo is gorgeous, but for some reason I get the impression the garlic doesn’t like me! 😉

  • You’re right to be proud of this photo. It is spectacular! 🙂

  • Nice photo Dahl, I mean darl. It really is the poster child for an ingredient shot, just lovely.

  • Yes, yes, yes! Have never thought to put the two together and I love salmon and cook ‘dhal’ [have spelled it thus in Australia since I first managed to eat a whole bowl at a sitting as a teenager!] at least weekly! Pretty much your way – have as yet to compare fave recipes!! OK: another lesson from the Emerald Isle: have never had Gewürztraminer with this either . . . . but believe in good references . . .

    • Gewurz works well with most spicy food. Although of course not all gewurz are alike and neither are all spicy foods. Most gewurz are also creamy, which works well with salmon (if not overcooked).

      • Thanks Stefan! Now I really have to try 🙂 !! Somehow G’traminer does not seem to be as used in Australia as it is in Europe and I have to think way back since I last had it in the house. That shall be remedied and I shall do some homework as to what to buy. Got my birthday coming up over the coming Long Weekend . . . . perchance . . .

        • Eha, they make some lovely cold climate wines in Tassie, both Riesling and Gewurztraminer. My favourite is from Spring Vale in southern Tasmania.

          • Thanks Kate . . . . Shall certainly look up the Spring Vale one: am not big on Rieslings but want to suss out the local G’traminers . . . . Tasmania does a lot of things ‘best’ so am looking forwards to the journey.

  • Yes, I agree with you Conor, ’tis a fantastic photo! I could only dream of getting one so gorgeous. But what I want to know is why Irish red onions are so dang small? The ones we get around here are the size of softballs! Umm, do you even have softball in Ireland? Anyhoot, great shot, and the dhal looks delicious. I can only get that when I visit an Indian restaurant, my husband can’t abide by curry. Such a shame, really.

  • The photo is indeed like a 17th century still life by a Dutch master. This makes me think it’s the light what makes it special. (Because that it is.)

    You mention butter or oil to cook the spices, but it is not shown in either the photo or list of ingredients. For authenticity’s sake you ought to be using ghee, also known as clarified butter.

    As for d(h)a(a)(h)l, this is the first recipe I see where the lentils and water aren’t added to the spice mix. It saves some cooking time as things can be done in parallel, but I wonder what made you decide to do it that way?

  • You’ve unwittingly answered a major question I had, because I’ve just finished a book of fiction that had a shocking amount of dhal in it, and I didn’t know what it was. Thank you. On another note, that ingredients shot is so good, I’ve sold it five times already. Thank you for that too.

  • Indeed that is a fantastic photo – you must put a marker on it or others on the web will grab it and use it!

    As for the dahl, daal etc. My daughter and her family have been living in India (Bangalore) for 3 years and we have visited them every year. She gave me a wonderful little Indian recipe book (in English) where all the recipes are for various dhals.
    I am slowly working my way through it, but will add your recipe to the list. It is an amazingly versatile dish, a food for the masses, simple yet sophisticated in flavours.

    I always enjoy reading your posts – thanks!

  • Conor. I agree. It is indeed a very nice photo.
    On a not-so-interesting side note, you seem to be holding your knife with your left… just saying…
    🙂

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