I’ve mentioned previously my love for a well-flavoured daal, specifically those cooked with coconut milk, for a delicious balance of earthy spice. A week on from my last batch cook of this godly stuff, I had the dahl cravings again, but decided to satiate them in a novel way: red lentil curry.
In another note, I come from a multicultural town where you can often smell south Asian cuisine as you wander the streets at dinner time; and the strongest of these scents I’ve finally identified, after using it in my own food. Fenugreek is potent stuff, seeming to cling to the very air the morning after you’ve cooked with it. But it adds another taste to curries, one which is hard to describe; suffice to say its powerful smell is easy to tolerate once you’ve tasted the outcome.
Now, I don’t pretend to be an expert at all in any culture of cooking. I just like to play about with different flavours and foods – and while this recipe may fall short of a more ‘authentic’ version, it did the job for me – hearty, healthy, and flavourful.
For two generous portions, you’ll need:
- one onion
- two cloves of garlic
- thumb-sized piece of ginger
- one red chilli
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 each tsp ground cumin and ground coriander
- 1/3 tsp ground fenugreek
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 120g dried red lentils
- 100g green beans
- 100g baby spinach
- tin of chopped tomatoes
Begin by rinsing the lentils well, and setting to cook for half an hour while you prepare the curry base.
Finely chop the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Fry the onion gently in oil for five – ten minutes, or until softened. Put the mustard seeds in a dry frying pan on a medium heat, and cook until you hear them begin to pop. Add garlic, ginger, and chilli to the onions and fry for another minute, adding more oil if needed. Then, tip in all the spices and cook for a minute, stirring well.
Pour in the chopped tomatoes with 50ml of water, stir, and leave to simmer fairly vigorously for around twenty-five minutes. Meanwhile, get a pan of brown rice boiling. Trim and halve the green beans before adding to the rice and cooking for eight minutes, before setting aside. Drain the lentils.
Shortly before the rice is cooked, begin adding the spinach to the curry in handfuls. Afterwards, stir through the beans and the lentils, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Serve the curry with the rice and enjoy.