Tomato and Lentil Dahl

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This is a delicious dahl recipe that freezes well – I make a big batch in the crock pot usually.  This will be a staple meal in our whare with the colder weather fast approaching.

Kīnaki (serves 2-3)

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
  • ½ finely chopped red chilli (or 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes)
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 200 g (1 cup) dried lentils (you can use red or channa dahl)
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook and cook for 5 minutes stirring often. Add the grated/minced ginger and chilli and stir.
In a mortar and pestle, grind up the cumin, mustard, and coriander seeds then add these to the onion and garlic.  Stir and then add garam masala and turmeric and cook for another minute.
You can now add the lentils, tomatoes and the vegetable stock and stir.  Add salt and pepper to taste and cook on a low heat for about 25 minutes until the mixture has reduced and has a thicker consistency.
Add the coconut milk and stir through.  You can also add some chopped fresh tomato, and/or some chopped fresh spinach.
Stir in some lemon juice just before serving – serve with rice, and/or naan.
Note: I often cook this in a crock pot so I can leave it cooking – I still fry off the onion, garlic and spices but then add these to the crock pot and then add in the rest of the ingredients.

Lentil Balls

Kia ora, koutou – apologies for the sporadic posts; it’s been a busy time in our whare with whanaunga visiting, trips around and off the motu, and general life business.  Hoping to post recipes more regularly this year but time will tell I guess! I am a bit more active on the Kaimangatanga instagram account – so be sure to take a look at that for some more recipe ideas and whakaaro about plant-based, low-waste living.

I came across these lentil balls last year and I adapted them so they’re a bit easier (using stuff we already have in the pantry).  They’ve been an awesome addition to our weekly meals.  They freeze really well and are versatile too – so I’ve cooked them with a tomato-based sauce and served with pasta, as well as adding them to a curry sauce and serving with rice.  I’ve also seen a few recipes which pair these with roast vegetables and cashew gravy, or alter the spice mix to have them in pita breads or wraps.

Kīnaki (serves 2-3)

  • 1 cup dried brown lentils
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves diced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or basil, oregano)
  • 3 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup nuts finely chopped (I stick ours in the blender) – I use a mix of whatever I have in the cupboard – peanuts, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (not essential but these add a nice savoury flavour and are also a good source of B12)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • 1 /2 teaspoon salt


Heat some olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat and then add onion, garlic and herbs and paprika.  Stir in the lentils and add the water or vegetable stock if using. Bring the mix to the boil over a medium heat and then reduce to simmer the lentils etc.  Cook until the lentils are well cooked (they’ll start breaking up a bit).  Check them regularly to make sure the water doesn’t evaporate entirely (add more if needed). Stir in garlic, thyme, parsley, paprika, and lentils to coat.


Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius. Prep a baking tray with some baking paper.

Drain the cooked lentils/onions and put into a large bowl.  Add the chopped nuts, flour, flaxseed, yeast, aminos/soy, and salt.

Form scoops of the mixture into balls and place on the baking paper (I usually get about 20-25 out of this mix so there is enough to use and some to freeze).

Bake for about 30 minutes, turning over half way through (they turn brown and go a little crispy).



Plant-based Pantry Vol.1

Kia ora, koutou – just thought I’d do a quick post to show some of the staples we have in our plant-based / kaimanga pantry.  We usually get these from Bin Inn or Piko so that we can reduce the plastic coming into the whare by taking our glass jars or reusing paper bags to bring home our dry goods.  We usually have a few cans of beans and lentils etc on hand for when we are in a rush and haven’t had time to soak and cook – but generally I do a big cook-up in the weekend and freeze some meals for the week so I can make good use of the dry stuff.

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Beans and legumes:

Lentils: I always have a mix of different kinds of lentils.  These are really handy for curries, dahls, and in bolognese sauces too.  They are also handy to sprinkle in salads for some extra protein.

Adzuki, black, and kidney beans: I use a mix of these for chillis (to have with corn chips, in tortillas, or on rice); in summer, I cook a few up in the weekend (slow cookers are great for getting beans super-soft) and then make up a few salads using some corn, beetroot, nuts and seeds and a vinaigrette dressing.

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Seeds: I use sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and linseed.  I put them in bread, toast them to top salads, sprinkle on top of pasta bakes, and add them to nut-loaf mixes too.  I use sesame seeds heaps in noodle and stir fry dishes (and they are really yum toasted and put in with your sushi fillings too).  All of these can be blitzed up for bliss-balls too.  (I usually have some ground linseed too, to sprinkle on cereals and to use in baking as an egg replacer).

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Nuts: I usually get whatever is on special – these can be pretty expensive.  Peanuts are usually reasonably priced and these are good for bliss balls, and crushed on top of satay dishes and noodle soups.  I also toast them and then crush them for dukkah (along with walnuts).  Raw cashews feature in a lot of plant-based dishes as a sauce-base and for baking too.

Will do a post with my go-to herbs and spices soon.