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Dhal Baked Eggs with Chickpeas

This is one of the most soothing South Indian-inspired suppers I can think of. Red split lentils were one of the first ‘new’ ingredients I started cooking with as a student. Here they’re gently simmered in gentle spices and strained tomatoes before being bulked out with tender chickpeas to form a delicious base for baked eggs. I serve this by itself in a warm bowl I can get my hands around, and some warm naan for dipping and scooping never goes amiss here.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 55 minutes


  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • splash of light oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes, plus extra for sprinkling
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 150g (¾ cup) red split lentils
  • 100ml (6 tbsp) passata
  • 600ml (2½ cup) vegetable stock
  • 400g (14oz) tin chickpeas
  • 4 large eggs
  • freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  1. Peel and finely chop the onion and the garlic clove. Heat the oil in a casserole dish or large, lidded, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and salt and fry for about 5 minutes until they’re softened and only just starting to brown.
  2. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute until fragrant, then add the spices, frying for another minute more.
  3. Rinse the lentils in a large sieve under the cold tap until the water runs clear. Drain and add them to the pan, stirring for a further minute or so until they’ve heated through.
  4. Stir in the passata, then the vegetable stock. Turn up the heat and bring the pan to the boil. Once the lentils are bubbling away, reduce the heat to low and allow them to simmer gently, uncovered, for 35–40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost all the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are tender. Check the seasoning to see if you want to add a little more salt.
  5. Stir in the chickpeas and, with a wooden spoon, make four wells in the lentil mixture and crack in the eggs. Clap on the lid and, keeping the heat low, bake the eggs for 4–5 minutes until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny. Don’t worry if they take any longer; a large egg takes 5 minutes to boil in water so you won’t overcook the yolk. Check the eggs at 4 minutes, but on some hobs I’ve seen the eggs in this recipe take up to 10 minutes – just keep an eye on them.
  6. Bring the pan to the table, finished with a simple sprinkling of dried chilli flakes and perhaps a few grinds of black pepper.

Recipe extracted from One Pan Pescatarian: 100 Delicious Dinners – Veggie, Vegan, Fish.