Nepalese Dal Bhat - Low FODMAP-afied
Dal Bhat is a vegetarian dish you will find served all over Nepal every lunch and dinner time. Made up of a lentil dal and rice (aka bhat), alongside a seasonal vegetable curry, greens, curd, homemade pickled/fermented veg (e.g. carrot, cabbage), salad and a poppadom, it’s incredibly gut-healthy and varied, as every family or restaurant will have their own secret recipe.
In this recipe and video, we’re “low-FODMAP-afying” and veganising it, making it suitable for those in the low FODMAP elimination phase, so think of it as “An Ode to Dal Bhat”.
If you are past the elimination phase and including more healthy FODMAPs in your diet, try the dal with more lentils and onion! Traditionally you get free refills when served in Nepal, so you could also just eat more to increase your healthy FODMAP intake.
Preparation note! I would chop the veg and get the rice on to start, then work on the dal. Once the lentils are simmering away, make a simple curried veg and sauté the greens.
[Prep Time: 15 mins. Cook Time: 35 mins. Total Time = 50 Minutes]
10 black mustard seeds, popped in oil
2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seed
4 whole peppercorns
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
Large handful of Dark greens section of leek
2 inches of Root ginger, minced
4 tomatoes, freshly chopped
2 tbsp Vegan margarine (optional - swap for oil)
½ cup Red lentils
Fresh coriander leaf and/or chives, chopped, for garnish
2 cups water, boiling
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the spices by grinding the mustard seeds, cumin, turmeric, peppercorns, cardamom, and coriander seeds to make a spice mix, or mix if you have them already ground.
Heat oil on high in a large pan and add your chopped spring onion greens and stir on high heat until the spring onion is softened.
Stir in the spice mix plus the whole cloves. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. It should start to smell really good at this point!
Add the chopped tomato and ginger to the pan and stir for another minute.
Add the margarine (optional, may need oil instead). Stir and cook for a couple of minutes, but make sure it doesn’t catch or burn.
Add the lentils and cook for 5 minutes.
Cover in the boiling water and simmer until the lentils are soft. The dal should be fairly watery, so add more if you think it’s needed.
Season with sea salt and white pepper to taste.
Stir through your chopped coriander and serve a sixth with the other dishes.
Seasonal vegetables, ideally FODMAP free e.g. carrots, parsnips, cooked with Garam Masala, cumin seeds, seasoning and oil. Check out the Monash app for the most up to date list of low FODMAP veg.
Dark leafy greens, such as collard greens, silver beets or kale which are all effectively FODMAP free. Chop and sauté them with water, oil and a little cumin if you’re feeling fancy (often plain but you could add cumin and seasoning)
Basmati, or other, rice. Boil as per packet instructions.
This really varies. I had some homemade sauerkraut in the fridge so I used that (here is the recipe) but you could also do the same with fermented carrot which I had while trekking in the Himalayas many years ago, or lightly boiling some thinly sliced vegetables such as radishes in a water-vinegar solution.
Use a FODMAP-free option like Koko’s plain coconut yogurt.
More often than not, you get free refills when you eat Dal Baht in Nepal. For FODMAP reasons, stick to just refills of the rice, greens, mixed veg if you used FODMAP-free options and coconut yogurt.