Trip to the Gyp: Delicious dahl, hopeless hobs and an ode to coconut yoghurt
If you’ve ever wanted to see a hundred photos of us making dinner, your prayers have been answered
Welcome back to Trip to the Gyp! This week you’re in the not-so-capable-and-incredibly-clumsy hands of Katie and Fenna, ⅖ of Churchill’s infamous Household Five (B).
In lieu of Sunday Life, we decided to recreate those chaotic vibes in our very own gyp, although with significantly fewer jägerbombs. This evening, we’ve swapped Van of Life’s cheesy chips for a *checks notes* dynamic dahl.
The cooking begun on a rocky start, following a disagreement over the spelling and pronunciation of dahl, which led to Katie having to admit defeat and have a mind-blowing realisation that dahl has the same spelling as the surname of a famous children’s author. Read on to find out whether these two witches made twits of themselves, or ended up as champions of the world.
Step one: A crumb of space in the gyp?
The number one challenge facing any Cambridge student. Our kitchen has a maximum limit of four people, which sounds draconian until you realise that you physically cannot fit more than four people inside.
Luckily for us (and unluckily for him), the fifth member of our household was busy essay-crisising so we didn’t have to vote to kick the weakest link out of the kitchen. Still, it took us a solid five minutes to navigate pans, hobs and people before we could even begin cooking.
Step two: Add 2(0) cloves of garlic to the pan
The original recipe we used calls for two cloves of garlic. However, if you have a refined palate like we do, you know that this is not nearly enough. Go ahead and add as much as garlic as you can physically get your hands on, as long as you’re not planning on kissing anyone later (we weren’t, naturally).
Step three: Have a breakdown (and blame it on the onion)
We decide recipes are for losers at this point and decide to free-style with a rogue addition of onion, because frankly everything tastes better with onion. Unfortunately, Katie’s eyes thoroughly disagree with this. We promise the tears are from the onion, not from Fenna telling her she’s a useless chef.
Step four: Add a chilli flake for every time you’ve cried this term
Since the beginning of term, three of our household members have managed to consume over 250 grams of chilli flakes. You can tell from Katie’s expression that this was her favourite step; she didn’t even need to check how much she was pouring in. The spice from these godly flakes cover all manner of culinary sins.
Step five: Fenna vs a can – who would win?
Fenna had barely entered a kitchen before second year, let alone navigated such exotic ingredients as *check notes* coconut milk. This showed by the fact she had stored her tinned tomatoes and coconut milk in the fridge. This meant the milk had set by the time we came to use it. After spending two minutes berating Fenna for her storage habits, I ask her to open the tins, at which point she is forced to admit she doesn’t actually *know* how to use a tin-opener. After a quick tutorial and much judgement, the tins are successfully opened and added to the pan.
Seconds later, we realise that our so-called “successful” tin opening was not so successful, as we discover the red liquid on Katie’s finger was not tinned tomatoes after all. After some emergency first aid, the show is back on the road.
Step six: Guesstimate 200g of lentils
Time to add the lentils, truly the backbone of this meal. We didn’t have a weighing scale to measure out the 200g of lentils, but we know for a fact there were definitely at least two lentils in there. Whilst your lentils boil, try to not stew over how long this meal takes to cook.
Step seven: A scientific taste test
With all the ingredients added, and our tummies rumbling we decide it is imperative we do a taste test. Alas, Katie is the clumsiest person to ever exist, and ends up spilling the dahl all over her phone.
Step eight: Cosplay as Gordon Ramsay
After completing the taste test and deciding that we probably rival Gordon Ramsay in terms of culinary knowledge, we decided to *improvise* and add some ginger. We faced an initial setback when we discovered Katie’s ginger had gone mouldy. At least this time Katie’s tendency to let food go mouldy didn’t lead to a slightly horrifying fly infestation, as witnessed in week two. After locating some ginger elsewhere, we threw caution to the wind and added it. You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs…or make dahl without randomly adding ginger.
Step nine: Improvise, adapt, overcome
At this point we remember that we need to start cooking our rice. Fenna was too lazy to cycle to Sainsbury’s so we were forced to use non-microwavable rice *shudder*. Alas, our housemates were using the other hob, making a curry which looked about 10 times nicer than our creation. Still, we’re no quitters and resolve to microwave our non-microwavable rice, which five minutes in we realise was a questionable decision.
However, our housemates leave at this point and we’re gifted with the use of a second hob, so transfer our questionable looking half-cooked rice into a pan. Halfway through this palaver I open Fenna’s cupboard and see that she had microwavable rice all along, meaning we went through all of this stress for *absolutely zero reason*.
Step ten: Appearances matter
The dahl is thickening, the rice is finally cooking, which means it’s time to focus our energies on making our dahl look pretty because we have more respect for having an aesthetic dinner than for our bank accounts. These steps are unnecessary unless you are as vain and superficial as us, but honestly 10/10 would recommend.
Tinned tomatoes: 28p
Coconut milk: 70p
Coconut yoghurt on the side: priceless *chef’s kiss*
After dishing up our rice and dahl, we add sliced avocado, cherry tomatoes, about three spoons of coconut yoghurt and a sprinkle of chilli flakes obviously to finish it off.
After serving up, we pour ourselves a large drink to congratulate ourselves on our successful(ish) cooking. We’re no wine experts, but can confirm Sainsbury’s £4.50 sauvignon blanc goes down very nicely.
The verdict: Drumroll please…
The best part of this meal was taking a photo of our beautifully presented dinner to send to my mum, who congratulated me on eating something other than spaghetti hoops. Whilst I still struggle to pronounce ‘dahl’, I have no problem talking about how delicious this meal is. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jamie Oliver names his next child after this dish. The taste? A treat for your taste buds. The texture? The perfect consistency to slide down your throat. The company? Average.
(D)elicious, (A)esthetic,(H)ealthy, (L)uscious – this was honestly the nicest meal I’ve eaten since coming to university and it’s lengthy preparation process was ideal for procrastinating my reading on the Global Cold War. It tastes like a hug on the plate, and its pairing with coconut yoghurt honestly has me feeling some kinda way *blushes*. Room for improvement: more chilli flakes, a quicker cooking time and a cooking partner who actually knows how to open a tin.
If you like vegan food, spending your entire evening in the kitchen, and bragging to your mum about eating a *proper* meal, this dish is for you. If you’ve managed to get this far without never wanting to see a lentil again you can find a *legitimate* recipe here.
All image credits to authors.