A recipe from Easy Wins by Anna Jones

Anna Jones is one of Readings’ absolute favourite cookbook authors, and we're thrilled to share a delicious recipe from her new book Easy Wins. This recipe for traybake lemon dal with pickled green chillies shows us just how easy it can be to cook up a delicious dal with next to no prep and the oven doing the work. A warming weeknight dinner, perfect for the cooler Melbourne evenings ahead.

Dal is a staple of our weeknight cooking. It’s the dinner I never get bored with. I have a few favourites I make on rotation: coconut, lemon and now this traybaked tomato one. This dal is made in the oven, so it’s very hands-off. The tinned tomatoes are roasted first to give a deeper hit of tomato flavour. Serve this with a pot of rice, some parathas, some salted yoghurt and chutney.

Serves 4.


  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 × 400g tins plum tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or other cooking oil
  • 2 unwaxed lemons
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 green chillies, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons golden caster sugar
  • 50ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • a bunch of coriander (30g), chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • a cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon Kashmiri chilli powder (or ½ teaspoon if using other chilli powders)
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 300g split red lentils
  • 1 × 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 800ml hot vegetable stock
  • 250g paneer or firm tofu
  • warm rice, parathas or roti, yoghurt and chutney to serve


Crush the tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 220° C/200° C fan.

Add 1 tablespoon coriander seeds and 2 teaspoons cumin seeds to a high-sided baking tray and toast in the oven for 2–4 minutes until fragrant, then remove and tip into a pestle and mortar and crush before returning to the tray. Drain 2 × 400g tins of tomatoes and add to the tray. Use a potato masher or the back of a large spoon/fork to crush the tomatoes to release their juice and flatten them a little, and spread them evenly over the tray.

Add the flavourings and roast

Add 2 tablespoons ghee or oil, then grate in the zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and 1 thumb of ginger and add 8 thinly sliced cloves of garlic. Toss the tomatoes in the spices and roast for 30 minutes until sticky and intensified in flavour.

Make the quick pickle

Put 2 sliced green chillies, 2 teaspoons golden caster sugar, 50ml white wine vinegar and a teaspoon of salt into a small bowl and mix well. Add the zest of a second unwaxed lemon. Stir through a bunch of chopped coriander, stems and all. Put in the fridge to keep cool.

Add the spices and lentils

Once the tomatoes have had their time, remove them from the oven and stir in 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, a cinnamon stick, 1 tablespoon Kashmiri chilli powder and 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds. Add 300g split red lentils and pour over a 400ml tin of coconut milk and 800ml hot vegetable stock. Cover tightly with foil and return to the oven for another 40 minutes.

Add the paneer

After 40 minutes, carefully take the tray out of the oven and remove the foil. Stir the dal, then season well with sea salt. Tear 250g paneer or firm tofu over the top of the dal and squeeze over the juice of the 2 zested lemons. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes or until the edges of the paneer are beginning to turn golden, the dal is creamy and the lentils are soft.

Finish with the chilli and serve

Serve with rice, parathas, yoghurt and chutney and the pickled chilli and coriander mixture. Will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Easy Wins by Anna Jones is available to buy now

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Cover image for Easy Wins

Easy Wins

Anna Jones

In stock at 8 shops, ships in 3-4 daysIn stock at 8 shops