Rachel Lambert: forager, author, guide
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Dahl with Wild Hogweed Shoots

Common hogweed shoots, also known as cow parsnip (Heracleum sphondylium ) add an aromatic twist to this Indian dahl recipe. Think of this common weed as the exotic, wild vegetable and you'll be close to what hogweed offers us. A good dahl is simple to create and is a great carrier for mild spices and the shoots offer a subtle flavour, neither overpowering nor underwhelming.

As I'm making this during the COVID-19 pandemic, I'm using spices and ingredients that I have at home. Feel free to increase or replace spices with ones that you have to hand. There really are a multitude of ways to make a good dahl.

Handful of common hogweed, cow parsnip shoots
Collecting spring hogweed shoots

I lalso ove the lemon (or lime) addition in this recipe, it compliments the hogweed shoots perfectly. I hope it's a good introduction to this plant for you. It only uses a little hogweed and I don't advise increasing the amount!

Hogweed shoots

To find out more about Common hogweed shoots and how to identify them, check out my blogs on; foraging for hogweed shoots in spring, hogweed shoots in a cake, exploring other names for hogweed and a simple recipe, plus hogweed shoots in a spring farinata.

Cow parsnip shoots

The Recipe: Dahl with Hogweed Shoots

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils 150g
  • 3 cups water  600ml
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, or equivalent in wild garlic
  • ½  tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • juice of 1 lime or 1/3-1/2 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4-6 small common hogweed shoots

Place lentils in a sieve and rinse well in cold water. Pour cleaned lentils into a medium sauce pan and add 3 cups of water. Bring lentils & water the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the lentils are soft.  While the lentils are cooking bring a separate small pot of water to a boil and score the peel of the tomatoes with a sharp knife in the shape of an “X”. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water and blanch for one minute. Remove the tomatoes to a bowl to cool, once cool, peel the tomatoes and cut out and discard the tough stem end. Chop the tomatoes and slice the hogweed shoots into 2 inch lengths and put both aside.

Slice onions and garlic and heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, cooking till translucent, about 3 minutes, add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the cumin, fenugreek and mustard seeds, cook and stir for another 2-3 minutes, then add bay leaf and turmeric. Add this mixture to the lentils and cook for a couple of minutes. Add salt and pepper, lime juice, hogweed shoots and tomatoes and cook for a further 10 minutes or until hogweed shoots are soft. Adjust salt if necessary.

Wild Indian Thali recipe

For a really wild Indian thali, why not serve with some of my other wild food recipes. Such as; rice flavoured with ground magnolia, nettle pakoras and dulse dukkah stuffed chapatis from my Seaweed foraging book. Just a thought!

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One comment on “Dahl with Wild Hogweed Shoots”

  1. Love the way you have displayed the photos and recipes, so clear. I now need to research your hogweed on your sight. I made Dahl the other day but hadn’t read your blog in time!

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