Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Eggplant Chickpea Curry and a Red Lentil Dhal

It's been a distracting day as my mind has been caught up with the impending Cyclone Yasi due to hit tropical North Queensland later tonight. Last night's dinner was a huge success however rather than writing it up I would rather post tonight's and dedicate it to my sister and husband who are bunkered down in Cairns as I know they enjoy a curry.

When Susan posted a curry recipe with roasted eggplant, capsicum and chickpeas this week I immediately made plans to cook it this week. As the eggplant was roasted first, I thought why not roast the capsicum as well. The next question was what to pair it with which was an easy answer for me - dhal!

Dhal has been a favourite of mine for so many years and I have tried so many varieties using different lentils, beans and split peas. I'm not sure that I have a preference for one recipe over another and usually alternate between which one I cook (when I'm not trying new ones). Tonight I decided to go with the first dhal I ever cooked although I have modified both the ingredients and cooking method over the years.

The eggplant curry was nice however I would like to try it again using the pre-roasted eggplants but I may change the spice blend around a little next time.

My thoughts tonight are with my sister, brother-in-law and some close friends in Cairns with young children (as well as the rest of the people in far North Queensland). I hope to hear good news from my family and friends tomorrow...

Red Lentil Dhal (Adapted from Curry & Chilli Cookbook)

1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large green chilli, seeded and finely choppped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tomatoes, chopped
Salt, to taste
50-100g fresh spinach leaves

Place the lentils, turmeric and stock in a medium sized saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Stir occasionally, and add more water if the lentils are sticking to the bottom.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add the garlic, chilli, coriander and cumin and cook, stirring for a minute until fragrant. Stir through the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes are beginning to soften.

Stir the onion & tomato mixture through the lentils, season to taste and mix in the spinach leaves until wilted.

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