To start my food blog, I decided to use a firm favourite. This is one of the few staples in the pink repertoire, used about once a week, with the leftovers filling plenty of lunch boxes.
It is a sweet, spicy curry with plenty of flavour. I also love it because its easy to pack with veg and pulses for fibre. Sometimes I use lentils, sometimes I throw in a can of chickpeas. Once, i went mad and tried both, but that was protein overload and I needed a lie down in a darkened room to recover. Sweet potato is always in there, pretty much because I LOVE it, but if you want me to sound all professional and fancy, because I also think the sweetness is nice with spice. Sugar and spice, thats how I roll.
To make it you’ll need the following…
A couple of shallots, and then the same amount roughly of ginger and garlic. Please don’t stress too much about the amounts being totally precise, otherwise you end up with a quarter of a garlic clove going to the big fridge graveyard in the sky.
You also need a chilli. I find one, with the seeds in, is just the right amount of heat, but feel free to omit the chilli if you’re a wuss you want to.
What I then do is throw the whole lot into my lovely Magimix, but you can also use either a pestle and mortar or a grater, too. I think pestle and mortar produces the nicest taste, but I’m lazy, and this isn’t exactly haute cuisine, mmkay?
Then you turf the lot in a cold, heavy-bottom pan with a coupla tablespoons of oil. I use mild olive oil, but groundnut or whatever is fine.
Turn the heat on lowish, and keep stirring for about ten minutes until the oil starts separating from the ingredients, like so…
Then, we need to add some of these bad boys, some lovely dried spices
We have cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala. The garam masala isn’t used until later, but it looked lonesome in a picture by itself.
You need to get these in the pan, too and fry them for a few minutes.
Add a splash of water if they start to stick.
After this, you add a couple of tablespoons of mango chutney, a tin of tomatoes, some creamed coconut, and a litre of vegetable stock. I helpfully forgot to take a picture of this part, but I’m only a newbie, so so forgive me, kind readers.
After those treats, you add some lentils…
Some diced sweet potato…
And some shredded spinach…
I add the spinach to the saucepan in gradual handfuls. It wilts down quite quickly and that method stops you needing to use the a cooking pot of monster proportions. I am so nice, giving these handy hints, right?
Bring the curry to bubbling temperature
Let the curry hubble and bubble away, uncovered, for about half an hour, until the lentils are nice and soft and mushy and the sauce is all thick. Do stir occasionally, unless you enjoy cleaning caked on lentils. In that case, burn away my chum.
At the end of the cooking time, stir in the garam masala and cook for just a few minutes.
You will then have something lovely looking, like this, for your efforts.
I like this one with naan bread and plain yoghurt, but feel free to serve with rice or chapatis, too.
Spinach, sweet potato and lentil curry
Serves 4. Cooking time 45 minutes.
5 cloves of garlic
Piece of ginger
2 tbsp oil (I use light olive oil)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tablespoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tbsp mango chutney (Geeta’s premium stuff is da bomb, I reckon)
1 tin tomatoes
100g creamed coconut
1l vegetable stock
1 cup lentils
1 sweet potato
1 tsp garam masala
1. Put the shallots, garlic, chilli and ginger in a food processor, and blitz until finely chopped.
2. Place in a cold, heavy-based pan with the oil.
3. Turn the heat lowish, and fry until the oil separates from the ingredients (about 10 minutes), stirring often.
4. Add the cumin, coriander and turmeric, and fry for about 5 minutes. Add a splash of water if they start to stick.
5. Add the mango chutney, tin of tomatoes, creamed coconut and vegetable stock.
6. Add the lentils.
7. Peel and dice the sweet potato, and add this to the pot.
8. Shred the spinach, and add to the pot a handful at a time, stirring between additions and waiting for each handful to wilt before adding the next.
9. Turn the heat up and bring to boil, then turn it back when and allow to simmer, uncovered for 25-30 minutes.
10. Stir occasionally.
11. Stir in the garam masala, allow to bubble for a few minutes.
12. Turn the heat off, and serve with naan, rice or chapatis.