Red Lentil Dahl and Mushroom rice by Isreal Mbabazi - 5 Amazing Cheap Recipes From Pro Chefs to Sustain in Lockdown

This piece was written by our Community Ambassador, Food publisher, writer and advocate Riaz Phillips. You can find out more about Riaz here

At the start of the first COVID-19 lockdown when news began to trickle out that the communities that were being negatively impacted the most were the ones closest to me, I wanted to do something positive that helped those in need and at the same time shone a positive light on underrepresented food cultures in the UK.

The result was Community Comfort, an incredible array of recipes inspired by a global palette of cuisines. The following recipes are a handful that I have picked due to their ease to make, relatively cheap ingredients and for how long each cook can last especially given these winter days!

Red Lentil Dahl
Red Lentil Dahl

Recipe One
Red Lentil Dahl and Mushroom rice by Isreal Mbabazi

This dish embraces the amazing Indian-Pakistani culture in East Africa. Isreal himself describes, “the smell of spices cooking, particularly in the ones featured in this dish remind me of my early years at home when I was growing up. It especially reminds me of the smells coming from mum’s kitchen wafting around the house.”  This dish requires just a basic shop and every time we have cooked it has been a pleasure for days. 

Red Lentil Dahl




1. Put one cinnamon stick into the oven and roast on Gas mark 6 for 4 minutes.

2. Rinse lentils under cold running water.|

3. Heat vegetable oil in a pan to a high temperature, then add the onions, coriander and cardamom seeds, ginger, garlic and roasted cinnamon stick. Turn the heat down to low and stir for 5 minutes.

4. Add all the remaining spices, the red lentils and the tomato puree, stir and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes (the longer you leave the spices to cook in the pan the better the flavours will be). Make sure it does not stick.

5. Add vegetable stock and the coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes until the consistency desired is achieved or met at. Taste and season with salt and pepper if required or desired.

Mushroom Rice

1. Rinse your rice with cold water.

2. Fry off your onions, bay leaf and garlic on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes.

3. Add mushrooms and continue to cook for 1 minute.

4. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute, followed by water to fully cover the rice. Boil for 4-5 minutes, until the water has disappeared add more if needed until the rice is cooked.

5. Serve the red lentil dhal on top of the mushroom rice and garnish with freshly chopped coriander, spring onions and red chilli. 


Serves four (VV, GF)

100g red lentils
2 red onions, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger, chopped
400ml coconut milk
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 green Sarano chilli, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1⁄2 tsp garam masala
1⁄2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp of coriander seeds
1 tbsp tomato puree
200ml good quality vegetable Stock
1⁄4 tsp of chilli flakes
4 cardamom seeds (Seeds only)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to season


Fresh coriander, chopped
1 Spring onion, chopped
1 Red chilli, chopped

Mushroom rice

1 white onion, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 300g Mushrooms, chopped
1 Bay leaf
180g Basmati rice

You can read Riaz's next recipe Mushroom Oat Lugaw by Zosima Sewell here

5 Amazing Cheap Recipes from Pro Chefs to Sustain you in Lockdown