This is a warming lentil and vegetable curry, spicy without being too hot. It’s fairly quick to cook after a long day at work, and satisfying without being too heavy. You can vary the vegetables according to the season; in March I usually make it with cooking apples, leeks and celery. It happens to be a vegan dish. You can also vary the spices according to taste, or substitute the equivalent amount of curry powder if you don’t want to use separate spices.
4oz (approx 120g) split red lentils
8 fl. oz. (approx 200 ml) water
Half an onion
Half a green pepper
4 oz (approx 120g) chopped tomatoes, fresh or tinned
8 oz (approx 250g) any combination of: cooking apple, celery, courgette, leek, squash
1 clove garlic
0.5 tsp (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) ground ginger
0.5 tsp (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) ground cumin
0.5 tsp (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) ground coriander
0.5 tsp (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) ground turmeric
Put the red lentils and water in a saucepan, cover, and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking, until the lentils have absorbed all the water and cooked to a soft yellow mass. If the lentils boil dry before they are cooked, add a little more water, but only add small amounts at a time.
While the lentils are cooking, peel and chop the onion, chop the green pepper, peel and crush the garlic.
Prepare the other vegetables. Wash and slice celery and leeks. Peel, core and dice the cooking apple. Wash and dice courgettes. Peel and dice squash.
Fry the onion in vegetable oil over a medium heat until soft and beginning to colour.
Add the garlic, green pepper, and other vegetables except the tomatoes. Fry a few more minutes until the other vegetables are beginning to colour.
Stir in the spices.
Add the chopped tomatoes. Season with salt and black pepper and mix well. Simmer 5-10 minutes.
Stir in the cooked lentils, mix well, and simmer a minute or two to heat through.
Serve with rice and mango chutney.