The last of this year's harvest

Of ‘Dhal’ And World Vegetarian Day

Celebrating the bounty of my recent (and perhaps the last of the year) harvest on World Vegetarian Day today.  But simply eating vegetarian food and harvesting vegetables isn’t enough if you truly care about the planet. One also needs to learn to put the people of the planet first, by accepting their culture and its subtle nuances that make these people who they are. Gardening is a luxury that many don’t have. It’s easy to rave about my garden produce but I’m acutely aware that I may seem to be gloating to those who can’t afford to garden themselves. Understand that sustainability is not always accessible or affordable to everybody. Be empathetic to those who can’t always buy organic, plastic-free produce from a farm shop but live off tinned tomatoes and beans from supermarkets. Some people are time-poor and many simply can’t afford fresh vegetables but have hungry little tummies to fill. They literally live on lentils. 

Dal is a life-sustaining dish that’s not only cheap but rich in protein and packed with flavour. But never make the mistake of calling it a ‘dahl’ or ‘dhal’, if you make this lentil dish yourself. Calling dal a ‘dhal’ or ‘dahl’ is not only culturally inappropriate, but it’s also disrespectful to low-income indigenous South Asian communities for whom it’s a staple. I disregard businesses who claim they’re sustainable yet don’t have the humility to correctly spell the names of the dishes that such marginalised communities introduced to the world. 

To those unwilling to learn what it really is, the simple dal becomes ‘dhal’ or ‘dahl’ with a rack-full of spices tipped in, including cardamom 😲 Next, pour in a bit of chicken stock and make it as stodgy as porridge, and there, you have a lovely bastardised ‘dhal’ ready to sell on the shelves of your so-called sustainable brand that only meets the needs of so-called ‘vegetarians’ who are about as aloof to the dal’s origin as the brand itself.

Also, being dismissive of a person’s or a dish’s correct name and pronunciation is borderline racist. For this reason, you won’t find a recipe for ‘Yhorkshire pudding’ or ‘bhangras and mash’ on my blog!!!

To illustrate my point, here’s a recipe you WON’T find on my blog:

So today I’m going to introduce you to a British classic, the amazing ‘Yhorkshire Pudding’. It’s basically a fluffy naan bread that you bake in the oven. Just make a batter with a 50/50 mix of rice and urad dal flour and plenty of water. Preheat a muffin tray in the tandoor at 400C. For the authentic touch add a tablespoon of ghee to each well of the tray, pour in a ladle full of batter, pop it in the tandoor, bake for 5 minutes and serve with curried roast beef. How does that sound? Annoying right?

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