This is a recipe for a very makeshift, very warming dhal made of split yellow peas. It’s cheap, easy, massively filling and is about the only thing you’ll have ingredients for when you too stumble in from the sleet with a flat bicycle tyre on a Monday night. It goes well with half a bottle of red wine to yourself, and a number of mindless programmes on the box. Makes enough for the rest of the week’s lunch.
Skin and cube half a small pumpkin and roast until tender at 180˚. In a small frying pan or griddle, heat a glug of groundnut or sunflower oil and add a scattering of mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, nigella or black onion seeds, 3 ground cloves of garlic and a finely diced red onion. Keep on low and stir occasionally to coat and release the flavours. In a casserole pot, bring 2 or 3 good handfuls of split yellow peas to the boil with plenty of water. Add a teaspoon of ground turmeric and stir, at once turning the heat down and partially covering to simmer for 35 minutes or so.
Return to the pan of seeds and add a grating of fresh ginger (a good tip is to keep it in the freezer, skin it quickly with a sharp knife and then grate coarsely directly into your food. This’ll put a stop to all those odds and ends of mouldy ginger from kicking around the fridge). As soon as the pumpkin’s roasted and the split yellows are tender, add everything to the large pot and keep on a low heat, stirring regularly to unstick the bottom. Keep adding small quantities of water or a little coconut milk to loosen it up so that the pumpkin almost melts into the dhal.
A topping of crispy bacon, fresh coriander and sea salt finishes it off perfectly.