By Liz Nolan
This aromatic vegetarian curry is always a favourite at my cookery classes! Add some chilli powder if you like it spicy. The coconut adds a creaminess without being too rich. If you don’t have the spices to hand then cheat by using the Pataks paste available at most supermarkets.
8 oz red lentils
1 tin organic chickpeas
1 medium red onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 inch fresh peeled ginger grated and finely chopped
1 large carrot sliced or ½ cauliflower broken into medium size florets
2 medium sweet potatoes scrubbed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
3 oz frozen peas
2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1/2 bag of washed baby spinach or 150g shredded spinach leaves
2 tsp Himalayan or sea salt
2 tbsp tamari (wheat free soya sauce)
few twists of black pepper
2 oz creamed coconut or 1 small tin of coconut milk
1 tsp mustard seeds or panchipooran – available at Indian grocers – it is a mix of cumin seed, fennel seed, fenugreek seed and black mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
2 heaped tsp cumin powder
1 heaped tsp coriander
2 dessertspoons Pataks coriander and cumin paste or Korma paste – not sauce
Wash the red lentils in a sieve under a running tap for a minute.
In a large pan with a lid, fry the onions in approx 2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil until soft. Add the mustard seeds or panchipooran and the turmeric, cumin and coriander, then the carrots/cauliflower and sweet potatoes, garlic and ginger.
Stir around for a minute and then put the lid on and let the mixture sweat on a low heat for a few minutes.
Add the lentils and the chickpeas – add the water too, so long as they aren’t in salted water.
Add the peas and some more water just covering the vegetables. Simmer with the lid on, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes, adding more water if it looks dry. The lentils soak up a lot of water.
Check the potato and carrots are soft.
When everything is cooked and the lentils have absorbed most of the water – they should look mushy and lighter coloured, stir in coconut and let it melt into the curry, then add the spinach and let it wilt into the curry.
Add the tamari, salt and pepper.
Serve with Cucumber Raita, and Aromatic Brown Basmati Rice, see below.
Serves 6 to 8 depending on the portion sizes!
Aromatic Brown Basmati Rice
6 oz organic brown basmati rice
14 fl oz water
½ tsp turmeric, 1 cinnamon stick or 2 inch piece of cinnamon bark from Indian grocers.
Wash the rice as for the lentils above. Put in a large saucepan with the spices and water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 to 25 minutes with the lid on. Check occasionally. The rice is cooked when it looks fluffy and most of the water has been absorbed. Pour off any excess water, remove the cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods and serve.
Cucumber and Yoghurt Sauce/Raita
Finely chop half a cucumber with the skin on. Mix with 6 tbsp natural yoghurt, 1 small garlic clove crushed and a handful of fresh, finely chopped mint leaves.
Season with salt and pepper.
Liz Nolan is a Nutritional Therapist based in Moycullen and Health and Herbs, Sea Rd, Galway. For more information on Vegetarian Wholefood Cookery Classes, Zest4life Nutrition and Weight Loss Programmes or Nutritional Consultations, please ring 0868099604 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wholefoodmatters.com