Sunday, 12 June 2011

Lentil and egg curry

If you thought pear and beetroot salad sounded odd, I guess lentil and egg curry is going to sound even odder. But don't judge a dish by its name - this one is based on a Delia recipe and tastes fantastic.

We both love a good curry but so far have struggled to make anything which can compete on taste with a curry from a good curry house. I suspect that's because we shy away from using (a lot of) ghee. However, this lentil curry has come up trumps, if you'll pardon the expression.

The key to getting a good result with this is time. You need to cook the onions for a minimum of 30 minutes on a low heat to get a good caramelisation which gives good depth of flavour to the curry.

To start with chop an onion (or more than 1 if you're cooking for a crowd) quite finely. Get some oil, or ghee, hot and then add your spices. We use about 1/2 a teaspoon of ground fenugreek, ground ginger and ground turmeric. A teaspoon of cumin seeds also goes in along with a teaspoon of garam masala. We've been using Schwartz curry powder for our garam masala as it has a strong taste of clove which is essential in a curry. Stir this around for 30 seconds or so. Add the chopped onion, mix thoroughly then turn the heat down really low. Add a couple of cloves of chopped garlic and a chopped chilli or two. Put a lid on the pan and leave the spiced onions to caramelise for at least half an hour.

Make up some coconut milk. We use blocks of creamed coconut to do this as its pure coconut. How much you'll need will depend on how many people you're cooking for, so use the guidelines on the amount of liquid your lentils will need to cook in. Add the coconut milk to the cooked onions. Add the lentils (we've been using red lentils which are a bit sweeter than green), a generous teaspoon of lime pickle and throw in a Cinnamon stick. Simmer.

Keep and eye on this as you might need to add more water if the curry looks like it is getting too thick.

About 10 minutes before your curry is done do some soft boiled eggs - eggs into cold water, bring to the boil then cook for 7 minutes. When done, put them into a bowl of cold water then peel them when they're cool enough to handle.

Stir some chopped coriander into the curry, if you fancy, then serve in bowls with the halved boiled eggs on top. Flatbreads go nicely with this curry and I prefer using them rather than serving the curry with rice.

Lentils, friend of the student and the vegetarian. And now firm friend of the unemployed.

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