We serve this delicious lentil-based curry as a staff meal with steamed fragrant rice topped with sizzling oil or occasionally I put it on our vegetarian menu

Ingredients

We serve this delicious lentil-based curry as a staff meal with steamed fragrant rice topped with sizzling oil or occasionally I put it on our vegetarian menu.

If you can’t find liquid coconut cream, use creamed coconut instead. Simply follow the instructions on the packet to make up to the required quantity – it works just as well.

Serves 4–6

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5cm (2in) root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 x 400g (14oz) tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 225g (8oz) waxy potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 75g (3oz) red lentils
  • 1 small aubergine, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 200g (7oz) coconut cream
  • 900ml (1½ pints) vegetable stock (page 000)
  • 275g (10oz) small cauliflower florets
  • 75g (3oz) baby spinach leaves
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, plus extra leaves to garnish
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • steamed fragrant rice topped with sizzling oil, to serve
  • plain natural yogurt, to garnish

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan set over a medium heat, then add the cloves, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds and cumin seeds and allow to sizzle for 20 seconds.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.
  3. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, lentils, aubergine, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, paprika and chilli powder to the onion mixture. Pour in the coconut cream and 600ml (1 pint) of the stock, season to taste and bring slowly to the boil.
  4. Reduce to a simmer for 20–25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are quite soft and have almost disintegrated into the sauce and the vegetables are just beginning to soften.
  5. Add the cauliflower and the remaining stock, cover and simmer for another 15–20 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender.
  6. Stir the spinach into the curry and cook for 1–2 minutes, until just wilted, then stir in the chopped coriander.

To serve:

Arrange the curry on warmed plates with the steamed fragrant rice topped with the sizzling oil. Garnish each plate with a dollop of natural yogurt and the coriander leaves.