Lentil Vegetable Curry
This healthy lentil and vegetable curry is easy and economical to make.
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1 ½ cups tamarind water* see the notes about tamarind below
- 3 tablespoons oil e.g. canola, sunflower, peanut
- 1 large onion sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds optional
- 1 inch ginger peeled and minced
- spice mix: 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground coriander,1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon curry powder, ½ teaspoon ground chilli
- 400 g crushed tomatoes one can
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large carrot sliced
- 1 cup caulifower chopped florets
- 100 g green beans
- ½ eggplant/aubergine cut into 2cm chunks
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup coconut cream optional
- ½ cup coriander/cilantro chopped
- 1 large red chilli chopped (optional)
- Combine the lentils, water and tamarind water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are soft and mushy (about 30 minutes). Check on the lentils a few times during cooking, and stir with a wooden spoon, to make sure they’re not sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. You can always add a bit more water or vegetable stock if they look like they need it.
- Heat oil in a medium or large fry pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until starting to turn golden brown (about 6-8 minutes). Add a bit more oil, garlic, mustard seeds, ginger and spice mix. Cook a further 2-3 minutes until the mustard seeds start popping.
- Stir onion mixture, crushed tomatoes, salt, carrot, cauliflower, beans and eggplant into the pot of lentils. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Mix in lemon juice at the end, taste and add more salt and/or pepper to taste.
- Drizzle over coconut cream (if using), and garnish with fresh red chilli and coriander.
*Tamarind is a fruit that has a distinctively sweet and sour taste (I liken it most to the look and flavour of prunes). It is sold in either block/pulp form or in a paste/concentrate (in a jar). You can find it in just about every supermarket these days (usually in the International section).To make tamarind water, soak 3 tablespoons tamarind pulp in 1 ½ cups hot water. Use a fork to mash it up a bit and when cool, use your hands to squeeze the tamarind pulp to break it up further and extract as much flavour as possible. Strain the liquid through a sieve. If using tamarind paste, simply mix 2 tablespoons with 1 1/2 cups hot water. If you don’t have tamarind, just use an extra 1 ½ cups of water in the recipe, and add 1 teaspoon brown sugar and a bit more lemon juice to mimic the sweet and sour flavour. It’s vegan, so it contains no animal products. It’s also gluten and dairy-free. Lentils are full of fibre, vitamins and minerals and a good source of protein. You can use any type of vegetables you like in this curry, for example chopped cabbage. It’s lovely drizzled with a bit of coconut cream over the top just before serving. This lentil curry also freezes very well, so it’s a great one to have in the freezer for when you’re not wanting to cook! I like to make this curry nice and spicy, but you could reduce the chilli if you want.