Oh boy, this thing was enormous! We both ate huge bowls of it for dinner, leftovers for lunch, and stashed some in the freezer for those newborn nights when the last thing I want to do is be in the kitchen. As with most curries, it is packed full of flavour and best enjoyed with some gorgeous bread and rice.
It's another "clean out the fridge" kind of meal, where you can add any veggie you like - but I must insist on the sweet potato or pumpkin (or both), as it lends such a velvety sweetness to balance out the spice. Lots of onion and garlic to get things going, and whatever's in your spice rack will more than likely make a great addition. I love how the lentils cook down to a creamy base for the sauteed veggies to mix with. It really is just a bowl of creamy, spicy goodness perfect for winter nights.
It looks like a lot of ingredients (and it is!) but a lot of them are spices, and once everything's fried off you just simmer the veg and lentils in the stock for a while, so it's really very low-maintenance. Promise.
2 onions, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons cumin
1-2 tablespoons turmeric
1-2 tablespoons mustard seeds
10-15 cardamom pods
1-2 cinnamon sticks
chillies - either dried, flaked or fresh - to taste
1 eggplant, diced
1 sweet potato or 250g pumpkin peeled and diced
1.5 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/4 head cualiflower
2 handfuls fresh spinach
2 cups red lentils
1 litre stock
splash of coconut cream
rice/yogurt/eggplant pickle/coriander to serve
1. Sautee onions in olive oil over medium heat until soft. (If you want to fry the mushrooms and eggplant for colour, do that now before adding garlic and spices.)
2. Add garlic and spices and turn up the heat. Fry all for a minute or so until fragrant.
3. Add stock, lentils and veg, all except spinach. Simmer gently 45 minutes or so to allow flavours to meld.
4. Test for seasoning - and add any spice you feel is lacking. Add coconut cream, keeping the lentils to the consistency you like.
5. Stir in the spinach and serve over rice. If you're not feeding an army, cool completely and portion into containers and freeze. Don't forget to label it - you'll most likely not be able to tell what it is just by looking!
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