Meera Sodha’s Courgette & Chickpea Dal

Funny story. When I made this Dal from The Guardian’s Feast magazine last week I thought “Wow, that’s an incredibly hot dish…” and wondered about the quantities of spices inside. I eat a lot of spicy food but this was very near killing off the other flavours! I almost was about to blame the recipe before it hit me… instead of chilli powder I had put 1.5 tsp chilli FLAKES. Not only are they usually hotter, but mine are even hotter (having been acquired from a market in Bangladesh). So there you have it, Meera Sodha is most definitely not to blame and also…. be careful with that chilli powder/flake situation! I managed to eat the Dal but it did involve an extra serving of Greek yogurt to cool it down.

More Dhal Recipes: Coconut Dhal

Meera Sodha’s Courgette & Chickpea Dal


Serves 4 | Prep 15 mins | Cook 30 mins
Easy | Vegan | Gluten and Dairy Free

You’ll need:

  • 5 tbsp rapeseed oil;
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds;
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds;
  • 750g courgettes, (about 4) halved and cut diagonally into 3cm pieces;
  • 250g vine tomatoes, chopped;
  • ½ tsp turmeric;
  • 1 ½ tsp chilli;
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin;
  • 1 ½ tsp coriander;
  • 1 ½ tsp salt;
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, and their water.

Heat three tablespoons of oil in wide frying pan over a high heat, and, when very hot, add the mustard and fenugreek seeds. Let them sizzle and pop, then add the courgettes. Fry for 10 minutes, turning only now and then so as to get some good golden colour on them.

Add the tomatoes, cook for five minutes, then add the spices and salt. Mix well, then briefly take off the heat.

Tip the chickpeas and their water into the courgette pan, and put it back on the heat. Cook for a further five minutes until everything comes together, taste and adjust the seasoning if need be.

Meera Sodha recommends serving the Dal with chapatis, some lime pickle and a dollop of cold coconut yoghurt. I served mine with Naan bread and Greek Yogurt.

Original recipe by Meera Sodha from The Guardian’s Feast Sat 17 Aug issue, available online here.

Courgettes with crisp cheese crumbs

These courgettes make for a nice side with a difference. They will go well with most main courses and are a nice change from potatoes or boiled veggies. Didn’t manage to grab a photo of them, but they were really tasty so I wanted to post them anyway.

Courgettes with crips cheese crumbs

Serves 4 | Prep 10 mins | Cook 30 mins | Easy | Vegetarian


Courgette with crisp cheese crumbs on the right served with chicken and veg.


You’ll need:
  • 6 courgettes, trimmed and cut into chunky batons;
  • pinch dried chilli flakes;
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves;
  • 2 tbsp olive oil;
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed;
  • 85g dried or stale breadcrumbs;
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan (or a vegetarian alternative);
  • 4 tbsp ready-made tomato pasta sauce or passata.

Heat oven to 200C/ 180C fan / gas 6. Place the courgettes in a baking dish or roasting tin and toss with the chilli, thyme, 1 tbsp olive oil and seasoning. Bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put the remaining oil in a bowl. Stir in the garlic, breadcrumbs, Parmesan and a little seasoning.

Stir the tomato sauce through the soft courgettes, then sprinkle with the crumbs and bake for a further 10-15 mins until crisp.

Original recipe from BBC Good Food magazine, issue May 2010, available here.