A Campfire Recipe
to Win the Cookout

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Feed the whole camp with this fire‑cooked dal by Kelowna‑based chef Aman Dosanj.

It’s perfectly portable, has a fantastic shelf life, is densely nutritious, tastes like fireworks, feeds a crowd and is almost impossible to screw up. (It also happens to be vegan.) Seriously, what can campfire dal not do? Kelowna chef Aman Dosanj, known for her live‑fire pop‑up dinners presented through an Indian lens, shares her delectable recipe with us.

July 2, 2021

Campfire Dal

  • 1 cup Canadian red lentils

  • 8 cups water

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil 

  • 1 tsp ground turmeric 

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1½ tsp garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp ginger, minced

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • salt to taste

  • 1½ tsp garam masala

  • 1 Thai green chili pepper, thinly sliced

  • 2 tomatoes, diced

  • ½ cup fresh micro‑greens or cilantro for garnish (optional)

Wash lentils until water runs clear.

Fill a heavy‑bottomed pot with cleaned lentils and water. Cook over medium heat, skimming any foam, and then add turmeric and a big pinch of salt. Cook until lentils are soft, 30–40 minutes, depending on how well you build a fire.

Meanwhile, in a medium‑size pan, heat oil. Add cumin seeds and let sizzle for 10 seconds, then add garlic and ginger and cook until golden and smelling like heaven. Add onion and sauté until translucent, three to four minutes. Then bring on the garam masala and chili, stir, and add tomatoes. Season with salt and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. This mixture is now called tadka.

Add tadka to the pot of cooked lentils, now called dal. Stir together, bring to a boil and taste for seasoning. When you love it, it’s done. Garnish with fresh greens (swap in foraged greens for outdoor authenticity). Serve with chapati roti or rice. Serves four.

Picture of the chef Aman Dosanj decorating plates after cook.
Chef Aman Dosanj plates an appetizer for one of her outdoor dinners.   Photo by Lucie Eger

About the chef

Through her business The Paisley Notebook, Aman Dosanj introduces diners and food lovers to new expressions of local produce and cuisine through her series of open‑air pop‑up dinners and curated food tours throughout the Okanagan and beyond.

Chefs tip: Use a gas burner to start the cooking while you’re building a fire. Chef Dosanj recommends Abeego beeswax fire starters.