This is a really nice, filling comfort food type dish that was created basically on accident while I was trying to make a vegetable side to go with a biryani It doesn’t need meat to be the main part of the meal and despite the ingredients list it is super easy and fairly quick to make. You could buy a curry paste to speed it up but making your own adds less then 10 minutes to the prep time.
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 3 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- Fresh ginger, equal to the amount of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 generous tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 generous TBSP tomato paste
- 2 fresh green chillies, roughly chopped
- Pinch of dry red chili flakes, or to taste (optional)
- 2 TBSP ground almonds
- 1 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp butter, for frying
- 1 large onion, medium dice
- 8oz/250g potatoes, peeled and cut into small bite size cubes
- 16oz/500g mixed frozen vegetables (any you like, I have used loads of different kinds)
- scant cup/200g split red lentils (must use red!)
- 28oz/800ml hot water
- 2 Knorr stock cubes (vegetable or chicken)
- 1 TBSP fresh coriander
- 2oz/50ml of plain yogurt
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Put a large heavy frying pan over medium high heat and when it is nice and hot add in the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds. Do not add any oil or fat! Get them really nice and toasty, take them off the heat and roll them around to cool slightly then put them back on the heat. Once they are a deep brown color, turn off the heat and remove them from the pan immediately so they don’t burn. If you burn them you will have to start over with fresh seeds.
- Place the toasted seeds in a mortar or a food processor and work them till they are well broken down and dusty. Don’t knock yourself out, it’s ok if there is a few chunky bits.
- Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, salt, olive oil, tomato paste, chillies, chili flakes (if using) and the ground almonds to the mortar or food processor with the toasted seeds and combine well to make a paste. It doesn’t have to be smooth, just well combined. Set aside.
- Heat a large heavy casserole pot (big enough to hold all the ingredients) over medium heat. Once hot, add the oil, butter and onions and stir well to coat. Fry the onions gently for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to medium high and add in the potatoes. Fry the onions and potatoes until they start to get some color on them, then add in the curry paste and fry for a full minute, stirring constantly.
- Add in the vegetables, lentils, hot water and crumble in the stock cubes. Stir well, turn the heat up to high and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once the mixture starts to boil, turn down to a gentle simmer, cover and leave for 20 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are tender.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the fresh coriander and yogurt. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
Serve immediately – Makes 6 Servings
Goes really well served over Basmati rice, but it’s also good over long grain American rice too (see notes). I also like to add a dollop of plain yogurt on top, especially if I make it a little spicier.
- The ginger and garlic should be equal amounts when both are peeled.
- Any mixed frozen vegetables will do. If you want to buy a bag of premixed or just make up 18 ounces by adding handfuls of different vegetables you have in your freezer.
- To turn the rice yellow, add a dash of turmeric to the cooking water. It doesn’t add any flavor to the rice but it looks really good in contrast to the curry.