All the curry dishes keep saying "fragrant stock or water" - most of the time I'm really not fussed about it and just use water if I don't have fragrant stock; occasionally, when I can be bothered, I'll make up a batch of fragrant stock for a curry I'm cooking and freeze the extra in 200ml batches, for future curries. When it comes to a luxurious dahl, though, I really will bother, because those lentils want all the soak-in glorious flavour they can stand! And actually it's ridiculously easy, and quick. It only takes 20 minutes, so for most curries, you could pop it on once you've got the onions frying, and it'll be ready in time. It also smells glorious.
Hurtle into a pot: 12 green cardamoms, 12 cloves, 6 bay leaves, 8 pieces of cassia bark, an onion roughly chopped with its skin, and a tablespoon of ghee. Pour 750ml of water over it, bring it to the boil, and simmer it for 20 minutes. That's it.
(Do keep the onion skin on, but take off the outer-outer skin, so you're not putting dirt or dirty onion skin in your stock. And chop off any fronds if they're dirty.)
The ingredients are utterly beautiful. What a colour palette!
Drowning gently in water...
Finished simmering, looking splendid.
A close-up of its wonderful, glistening aromatic glory.
Strained and poured into a kilner jar, because I'll be using this whole lot in a luxurious dahl, instead of divvying it up into little portions to use in different curries. That deep golden colour comes from the onion skin.
I used to just chuck out the spices and things, but last time I made this, Will refilled it with water and brought it to the boil again, which made another batch of equally good stock, or if not quite as fragrant, certainly better than water! So you could always do that.