A delicious way to prepare lentils, mixing them with a mixture of sweet sautéed vegetables spiced with garam masala and chilli then topped with a garnish of sweet caramelised onions and crispy ginger.
For 4 portions
50 grams green lentils
50 grams mung beans
50 grams small white lentils
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
4 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1 fresh chilli – finely chopped
1/4 red pepper
1/2 medium courgette
olive oil for frying
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
Piece of fresh ginger – peeled and cut into fine strips
1 large onion – peeled and cut into thin rings
Pinch of white sugar
Soak the three types of lentils in advance, either in cold water overnight if you remember, or pour boiling water over them a couple of hours before you plan to cook them and let them steep. I find that the soaking helps soften the centre of the pulses so that they then cook more evenly.
Drain the lentils from their soaking liquid and put in a pan with enough water to reach about a centimetre over them.
Add the coriander seeds, asafoetida and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until the lentils are cooked.
Next prepare the garnishes. Heat a couple of tablespoons oil in a small frying pan and add the ginger. Cook until slightly browned and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Sprinkle a light dusting of sugar on to the onion rings, then slowly fry them in the same pan, adding more oil if needed. The sugar helps the onions caramelise.
Keep frying the onions on a low heat until browned and caramelised. This will take some time, at least 20 minutes, stir them round from time to time.
Now to the vegetables. Cut all the vegetables into small cubes.
Heat two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and chilli. Fry for a few minutes.
Add the vegetables and stir in. Fry gently for ten minutes stirring from time to time.
Add the garam masala and season with salt. Mix in well and continue frying until the vegetables are cooked and lightly browned.
The lentils should have absorbed nearly all their cooking liquor, if not drain some off leaving the lentils a bit moist.
Add the lentils to the vegetables and stir well to mix. Cook for a couple of minutes for the flavours to infuse.
Serve topped with the caramelised onion rings and crispy ginger.