Posted by Joanna on December 5, 2018 in NEWS

Oh no, this is not a culinary blog, but last Friday I was asked to cook a dinner for a group of 12 yogis participated in strala yoga workshops leading by a friend of mine, Renata, on the picturesque Senja Island placed above the Arctic Circle. I live here and I know this girl. I knew she would try ice bathing in the ocean with the participants… So I definitely had to make something warming up.
I prepared red lentils dal served with kefir breads or/and rice. First meal is 100% vegan. Second contains kefir so it’s not for everyone.

A few people asked me for a recipe so here we go:

Ingredients and proportions for 10/12 people dal:

  • two large onions
  • three/four small cartons of sliced tomatoes
  • one glass of tomato purée
  • 10 medium potatoes
  • two big carrots
  • 400/500 g of red lentils
  • three big cloves of garlic
  • cumin powder
  • nigella seads
  • tandori masala spice
  • 5 dry kaffir lime leaves
  • fresh coriander
  • home made kashmiri masala paste* (can be replaced i.e. by a ready one from Patak’s, easy to get in international shops)
  • sea salt or a half of a chopped lemon marinated in salt
  • optional: coconut milk and a half of salted lemon

Cover the bottom of 10 liters pot with olive oil and heat it up slightly.
Put chopped onion and garlic into the pot and add two/three good tablespoon of cumin.
Fry it together for a little while, then add sliced tomatoes, one good tablespoon of nigella, three tablespoons of tandori masala, don’t forget about stirring for 1-2 minutes.
Add circa 5 liters of water. Wash lentils under cold stream of water and add it to the pot. Let it warm up and to boil while cutting carrots and potatoes into slices.
Remember that lentils loves to stick to the bottom – so stir! 🙂 Add potatoes and carrots. Add two/three good tablespoons of kashmiri masala paste. Time for salt. Be careful. 1-2 tablespoons should be enough.
It’s nice to feel a real taste of all the ingredients or eventually add the salt at the end. If you already added too much, you can rescue the meal by adding spinach.
Add kaffir lime leaves and chopped coriander. Leave some coriander to decorate the top of the plate. The best way is to shred kaffir leaves slightly with your hands instead of grinding them.
Let it boil all together until the potatoes and carrots get ready.
Check the water. Dal should not be too thick but also not too thin 🙂 You know how it should be, right? 🙂
If it’s too hot, serve with a dollop of coconut milk and a few drops of lemon. Tastes bests on the next day. Love!

*Ingredients for a home made Kashmiri Paste
  • 4 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 4 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 8/10 dried Kashmiri red chillies
  • 2 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 x 3cm cinnamon or cassia stick
  • 3 Asian bay leaves or western bay leaves
  • 100ml white wine vinegar
  • 150ml vegetable oil (add more if required)
  • 5 cm of fresh ginger
  • salt to taste (I usually leave it out and add salt when cooking)
Heat a frying pan over medium high heat.
Pour the whole spices into the pan and roast until warm to the touch. The spices may smoke a bit but they really only need to get warm and fragrant to be ready.
Remove the spice from the heat to cool on a plate and then place the spices in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and blend to a fine powder.
In a frying pan, mix this powder with about 100ml of water and stir into a paste.
Pour the oil into the pan, and turn your burner on to medium high.
Stir continuously until the spices begin to sizzle a bit and the oil all rises to the top. 30 seconds to a minute should be enough as you have already roasted the spices.
Turn off the heat and add the vinegar and stir it all up nicely. Spoon the spice mixture into a very clean preserve jar with an air tight lid.
This will keep in the fridge for at least three months. Use as required.


Ingredients for kefir breads:

  • 1 kg of flour
  • circa 800 ml of kefir
  • 2 teaspoonfuls of baking soda
  • 2 teaspoonfuls of salt
  • 2 good tablespoons of nigella seeds
  • optional: one good spoon of yellow curry

Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl, add kefir and kneed a thick dough. Then shape the dough into 12 flat irregular cakes or more. Coat them gently in the flour so the dough could not stick to the pan.
Heat up just a bit of oil or ghee butter at the pan and fry firsts two cakes each side for around 1 minute until they rise.
Serve with the soup and garlic butter mixed with fresh parsley.

They are also very tasty without any spices, just as a morning rolls with jam and coffee.

By the way… have you already tried red rowan autumn jam?
It can be mixed with apples or wild arctic rhubarb but processing the rowan must be very strict.
It should spend in the freezer minimum three days before starting preserving and then should be heated up and cooled down a few times.
Then I prepare it like any other jam, adding other fruits and spices like cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, brown sugar etc.
OK. That’s it for now 🙂 Enjoy!


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