© 2018 Green Kitchen Stories Cauliflower_dal_1

Weekday Cauliflower Dal

We had a little vote on instagram the other day, asking which recipe we should post on here next. I was absolutely convinced that these Peanut Butter & Jam Chocolate Cups would be the winner. But there was instead a surprisingly large majority asking for a cauliflower dal. I suppose most of you just want to cozy up with warm food that hugs the belly right now. And that is exactly what this is. A belly hugger and a particularly simple recipe that doesn’t require any fresh herbs or unusual ingredients. Just a handful of pantry staples and a little trick for a flavor packed topping.
We’ll teach you more about the recipe and the topping in a bit. But before we do that, we wanted to show you this video that we made. It is part of a new mini series that we are doing on on youtube where we travel around Sweden to source local ingredients and cook with friends. In this episode we took the train to the west coast to pick apples with Linda Lomelino and then she bakes a classic Swedish Apple Cake. Fun times!
Luise was quite nervous about releasing this because she speaks in front of the camera more than she has done before, so please give her a little extra love. We have two more episodes coming before this year ends.
Back to the dal. If you are not familiar with the name, it is essentially an Indian Lentil Soup. We have been sharing a few different dal recipes on here and in our books and this is a mix of them all. It is not our fanciest version but instead something that you can make on any given weekday. A dal is one of those recipes that you learn once and then know and cook for the rest of your life. I promise. I have been making varieties of this soup since I moved to my first apartment and learned how to cook. All ingredients are easy to find and can basically go into the sauce pan at the same time.
If there is one thing that you should give a little extra attention, it is to use a good curry spice blend. The use of spices can vary in curries, we particularly love a version that includes ground fenugreek. But you can use any curry mix that you like. If you have some mustard seeds, coriander seeds and/or cardamom seeds in your spice cabinet, you can grind them into your curry blend to boost it with extra flavor. Because freshly grounds seeds/spices always taste more.
The trick
When we were on Sri Lanka a couple of years ago, we learned a dal trick from a local woman. After having cooked lentils and spices into a pretty good dal, she put another pan on high heat, added ghee and more spices to it and, when super fragrant, she stirred them into the soup. Adding those warm spices and butter last minute just boosted the soup and made it insanely flavorful. For this recipe we use a similar method for garlic and mustard seeds that we then wilt down spinach into. You can stir down the spinach into the dal, but we instead serve it as a topping (because our kids prefer it without the spinach). We normally add toasted pumpkin seeds on top as well but didn’t have any at home this time.
Weekday Cauliflower Dal 
Serves 4
Notes: You can either serve the soup chunky or mix it smooth with a hand blender. Our favorite way is to just give it a super quick whizz with the blender to make it a little creamier and yet keeping texture from the cauliflower and potatoes.
If you want it a little sweeter and creamier, you can replace 400 ml / 14 oz of the water/stock with a tin of coconut milk.
We don’t add chili to it because of our kids but that can obviously also go in along with the curry.
3 tbsp coconut oil or butter/ghee
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp ground curry spice blend
1/2 tbsp mixed mustard seeds, coriander seeds and cardamom seeds (or just add 1/2 tbsp extra ground curry)
1 large chunk (5 cm / 2 inches) fresh ginger
1 cauliflower (approx 500 g / 1/2 lb)
3 potatoes, coarsely diced
200 g / 1 cup red lentils
2 soft dates, pitted and mashed
1 litre / 4 cups water or vegetable stock
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Garlicky spinach
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2-3 handfuls spinach
Tomato salad
10 cherry tomatoes
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper
Make the Cauliflower Dal: Heat coconut oil, onion and garlic in a large saucepan on low/medium heat. Add the curry, grind the extra spices in a mortar and add those as well (or just add more curry). Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until it smells fragrant, but be careful so the spices do not burn. If it feels too dry add a spoonful, or more, of water.
Break the cauliflower into florets and chop the stem finely. Peel the potatoes and dice them into 1 cm / 1/2 inch bits. Add both to the sauce pan along with the lentils and dates. Stir and sauté for about a minute before adding water or stock. Let simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are starting to dissolve and the cauliflower florets are tender. Stir carefully (if you want the cauliflower florets to stay intact) a few times.
Add apple cider vinegar and salt to taste. Give the soup 2-3 pulses with a hand blender (if you like, see note above). Serve in bowls with a dollop of yogurt (coconut yogurt or regular yogurt) and top with garlicky spinach and tomato salad.
Make the Garlicky Spinach: Heat coconut oil in a skillet. Sauté mustard seeds and garlic on low/medium heat until golden and fragrant. Add spinach and turn off the heat. Stir until wilted. Ready for serving.
Make the Tomato Salad: Cut the tomatoes in halves and place in a bowl. Add olive oil, vinegar salt and pepper and toss to combine. Serve on top of the dal for a fresh zing of flavor.


  1. Posted 15 Nov ’18 at 20:40 | #

    I guess dal is just a lesser-known dish, which is why everyone requested it! I’ve never tried it myself (homemade or store-bought) so I’m interested to test this recipe out for myself! And, I can’t wait for the peanut butter cup recipe now!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. lisa
    Posted 15 Nov ’18 at 22:59 | #

    the video is lovely! It would be convenient to have the recipe posted below the video too- it goes by so fast i had to keep stopping to get the ingredients list.I loved seeing the farm and a small glimpse of Sweden and am looking forward to more!

  3. Posted 16 Nov ’18 at 08:45 | #

    Oh I’m pinning that garlicky spinach recipe actually for a side for a friendsgiving I’m hosting! So gorgeous!

    chevrons & éclairs

  4. Posted 16 Nov ’18 at 12:20 | #

    This looks great! Dal is everyone’s favourite dinner in our house. We love to temper more spices to add to the dal at the end too – it adds such an amazing extra burst of flavour. Gabriella x

  5. anne
    Posted 16 Nov ’18 at 20:31 | #

    I’m not kidding when I say: this is exactly what I was craving for last week, so thanks for the recipe, haha!

    As a loyal GKS-reader, I’ll give you my honest feedback for the video: The video/Louise is absolutely beautiful to watch. However, the informational content in this one, for me, was really low. And I am not even Swedish.
    Apples? Cinnamon? Cardamom? What else do you have for us?

  6. Posted 17 Nov ’18 at 08:16 | #

    I am so excited to try this recipe. We just received a huge cauliflower in our veggie box this week so this is perfect timing. The garlic spinach sounds really yummy too!
    The film is so great, you guys are so creative, I love watching your films and Luise is such a natural on camera. That apple cake looked delightful!
    I hope you have a lovely weekend xx

  7. Diana Martin
    Posted 17 Nov ’18 at 20:30 | #

    Luise is so pretty and sweet……she shouldn´t feel embarrassed to speak in front of the camera. I love the video and I´m looking forward to watching next!!
    As someone else has said, I am glad to see a piece of Sweden, it´s sunny in the video hahaha, we imagine your country as cold and snowy (I´m Spanish so….even now in autunm, temperatures seldom go below 0 degres).
    Love you guys!

  8. dneumann
    Posted 18 Nov ’18 at 14:56 | #

    I tried this recipe last night and it was AMAZING! Yogurt in Dal is perfect and adding the tomatoes and spinach was icing on the cake. I have never eaten Dal with toppings of tomatoes and spinach – definitely my new favorite!!
    Thank you once again for your creative and amazing recipes!!

  9. Barbara
    Posted 21 Nov ’18 at 03:47 | #

    I just made this tonight for dinner….my hubby and kids loved it. I didn’t happen to have the spinach so we just ate the dal as is, with some naan. Thank you for a great recipe! And I enjoyed the video as well :)

  10. Posted 27 Nov ’18 at 19:08 | #

    Thank you so much for this post! We love it! :)

    And: Your Pictures are sensational, just not to forget!

    Cheers, Christoph

  11. Posted 30 Nov ’18 at 21:42 | #

    It’s very tasty! Thank you for idea of healthy and delicious dinner!

  12. Coleman’s dad
    Posted 6 Dec ’18 at 18:21 | #

    Nasty day outside but lovely and warm inside. We have just received a big hug from this. Followed the recipe to the dot and it even looked like your pics.

  13. Justyna
    Posted 8 Dec ’18 at 14:23 | #

    Dear Luise, you are one of the most adorable person I have ever seen. Camera loves you and we can also see the love of the one behind the camera 😉
    As much as I enjoy your recepies, I often read this blog just to feel warmth and happiness of your family. Thank you for this!
    Greetings from Warsaw, Poland. J.

  14. Justyna
    Posted 8 Dec ’18 at 14:25 | #

    *recipes, of course

  15. Posted 10 Dec ’18 at 19:59 | #

    I am so excited to try this recipe. We just received a huge cauliflower in our veggie box this week so this is perfect timing. The garlic spinach sounds really yummy too!

  16. Barbara
    Posted 3 Jan ’19 at 19:53 | #

    Hej! The only thing is that I cannot really find how and when to add the Ginger??:)

  17. Chanèle
    Posted 11 Feb ’19 at 00:26 | #

    Made this exactly as written and it was delicious -a hit with everyone, even my 2 year old. For those wondering, the ginger goes in at the beginning with all of the spices and it is grated. I didn’t have cardamom or mustard seeds so I used powder and increased the amount. I used noor dates vs medjool (I always have both on hand). Going in the saved pile. Thank you!!

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