Medium spicy lentil curry with cold-water prawns.
This may not be the most attractive looking dish but it makes up for it in the flavour department. Warming, medium spicy, filling comfort food – Indian style. Perfect for cold snowy days, like today here in Edinburgh.
The dish is cooked using a paste of red onion, garlic and ginger which is fried in some oil flavoured with mustard seeds. Chilli, tomato paste, lentils and spices are added along with some water. Seasoning and a little sugar is added then the dish is left to simmer for 50 minutes until the lentils soften, adding some extra water as it cooks.
The dish works well on its own but I added some cold-water prawns, in my opinion the best tasting prawns. Serve with choice of Indian bread or rice, I had mine with a Paratha, simply delicious!
Serves 2 people
Preparation time 10 minutes, cooking time 60 minutes
For the curry paste:
3 red onions – peeled
8 cloves garlic – peeled
thumb of root ginger – peel, finely chop
Method: Use a mini blender to blitz into a smooth paste, it should have a slightly pink colour as shown in photos at bottom of recipe.
For the main dish:
225g cold water prawns – pre-cooked, shelled.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 green bird eye chillies – deseed, thinly slice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
150g red lentils – rinse well
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder – use extra if you like very spicy
8 curry leafs
4 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 desert spoons brown sugar
Method: Start by heating the oil in a deep-frying pan over a medium high heat, then fry the mustard seeds until the begin to pop. Add the paste and stir fry until the paste thickens in the pan, this should take around 4-5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and the sliced chilli and fry for a further minute. Add the lentils along with the coriander, chilli powder and turmeric, stir through the paste. Next add around 4 mugs of water (enough to submerge the lentils) and stir well, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Add the cardamom, cloves and curry leafs and stir well. Simmer the curry for around 50 minutes, adding a little extra water every 10 minutes as the sauce reduces, depending upon how thick you like your curry sauce. The curry is ready when the lentils soften and start to break down (I thickened mine slightly from the video clip below). Add the prawns and stir into the sauce until warmed through, do not over cook the prawns as they will become tough and chewy. Serve and enjoy!