Greens & lentil coconut curry

Greens & lentil coconut curry

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This is by far the best curry I have made to date! Each mouthful has the perfect balance between warming peppery spices and tart, zesty notes from the tomatoes, fresh mint & citrus. The addition of coconut milk mellows the pungent flavours whilst still keeping the dish fragrant, it also brings a lush creaminess to the curry without making the dish heavy. 

What’s great about this curry is that you can use any greens (or other veggies) you have to hand. I love to use kale or spinach but you could also use chard, watercress, cabbage, broccoli, beans or peas. If you don’t fancy greens sweetcorn or roasted squash/sweet potato are also great but I can’t quite describe how well greens compliment the tangy aromatics of this curry! 

I recommend using Romano peppers if they’re in season as they are much sweeter than regular bell peppers however, if you can’t get hold of them a ripe red pepper will work just fine. If you find the curry slightly too sharp just add a teaspoon of your preferred sweetener  However, I find sautéing the onions and peppers low and slow intensifies their natural sweetness so that I don’t need any sweetener. 

Patience is key when making curry. There’s no complex processes involved but the longer you can leave each stage to steam and simmer gently over a low heat with the lid on the more time the flavours have to develop. This curry will taste even better the next day so if possible I advise making this the day before you plan to eat it or in the morning for the evening. And why not double the recipe and freeze half for another day.

(This recipe serves 4).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp oil (coconut/sunflower/olive oil etc)
  • x2 onions (sliced)
  • x2 romano peppers (sliced)
  • x3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 1/2 inch fresh ginger (minced)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp chilli powder (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 400g tin of tomatoes / 400g fresh tomatoes (diced)
  • 400g tin green/puy lentils
  • 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 250g green veggies e.g. kale, spinach, chard, watercress, cabbage, broccoli, beans or peas, or roasted squash/sweet potato or corn.
  • tbsp each of chopped fresh mint and coriander

METHOD:

1. Heat the oil in a large pan, then over a low heat sweat the onions and peppers until soft, it should take 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and other spices and allow these to cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. During this time add splashes of water to make a paste with the spices and top up if the paste starts to stick to the pan. After 10 minutes add the tomatoes, stir and leave to simmer with the lid on for 10 more minutes.

2. Add the lentils and coconut milk, stir everything together put the lid back on the pan and leave to cook on a low heat for 20-30 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Keep checking and stirring the curry every so often to make sure the curry is not catching and to see if the sauce is getting too thick for your liking, add more water if so.

3. When the cooking time is up, turn off the heat and add the greens (or other veg), seasoning (be generous with the black pepper) and fresh herbs. Stir everything together and then return the lid and leave the curry to sit for 5 minutes allow the greens to soften and wilt in the residual heat and all the flavours to amalgamate nicely. If you are making this in advance, leave the curry to cool completely before storing in the fridge. It will keep in the fridge for upto 3 days or upto a month in the freezer.

Serve the curry with rice, naan or flatbreads, a simple green leafy salad with shredded cucumber and some lemon or lime wedges.

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