I promised you a while ago that I’d give you an update on my favourite lentil curry recipe. This is our absolute fave – a really simple, healthy one pot dinner. I’m always messing with it – adding leftover roast chicken, or a tin of chickpeas, or some veg that’s a bit past its best: sweet potato, cauliflower, etc. I’ve always listed the ingredients separately before, but now I actually make the spice mix up in bigger quantities and it’s much easier to spoon into the curry.
So first, for your spice mix:
Most of those small jars of spices you’ll buy will weigh in at around the 45-50g mark, so I’ve gone for this as my standard measurement. Don’t worry too much about being exact if they’re roughly the same. I haven’t added the salt as I prefer to sprinkle it on the onions as they’re cooking. Oh, and obviously I’m not a spice expert, this is just a mix of spices that we’ve come to enjoy the taste of. I was also thinking that you could make up a batch and then divide it into smaller jars to give as presents. I’ve just recently discovered Waitrose Kitchen – check out these scrummy little spice jars – perfect for making up small batches of your favourite mixes. I love spices on display in a kitchen.
50g hot chilli powder
50g mustard seeds
50g ground cumin
50g ground coriander
50g ground turmeric
50g caster sugar
25g ground black pepper
So just mix all of those together and keep them in a sealed jar, ready for popping into curry, sprinkling on meat and fish before you roast it, making Singapore noodles, stirring into yoghurt,for a quick marinade for chicken… all sorts of lovely things.
For the basic curry, you’ll need:
2 tbsp spice mix (or 1 tsp each of the individual spices plus half tsp pepper)
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp grated ginger (I keep mine in the freezer)
800ml water or chicken stock (or 1 tin coconut milk + same amount water)
200g red lentils
Half a butternut squash, peeled and chopped, plus any other leftover veg (or meat!)
To garnish: fresh coriander
So, grab a relatively heavy pan that has a good fitting lid. Heat up the oil, drop in the sliced onions and sprinkle with the salt. Fry gently until softened.
Sprinkle the spice mix over the onions and stir everything around for a few seconds. It gets very dry, but don’t worry. Add in the liquid (if you’re using coconut milk, tip in the milk, then fill up the empty tin with water and pour that in too).
Stir in the lentils, and throw in chunks of butternut squash, or whatever else you’re using (obviously if it’s broccoli or something softer, leave the lentils to cook, then add it in about 10 minutes before the end of cooking time), then bring it up to a bubble before turning it down, popping on the lid and leaving for 25-30 minutes (you can either leave it covered on a low heat on the hob, or put it in the oven (about gas 4/180 should do it).
You really don’t need anything else with this as it’s really filling, but maybe a chunk of crusty bread or some rice if you’re extra hungry. Sprinkle over the coriander and serve (for a similar bowl, try this Sophie Conran one, also from Waitrose Kitchen).