Smoky hot lentils

Smoky hot lentils

Anjum's Quick & Easy Indian
Lisa Linder

This is lovely on its own or as an accompaniment, and particularly good with spiced pepper and feta cornbread. It is a very well-behaved recipe that won’t mind being made earlier in the day (it only takes 25 minutes), then reheated when you are ready to eat.


Quantity Ingredient
300g puy lentils
3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 smallish onions, chopped
4 fat garlic cloves, grated
10g root ginger, grated, (peeled weight)
3 tomatoes, blended until smooth, or chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, or to taste
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/3 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
2 handfuls green cabbage, shredded, (optional)


  1. Place the lentils in a saucepan, just cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until al dente, 20–25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the onions and cook over a medium-high heat for three or four minutes (I use this time to grate the garlic and ginger and chop the tomatoes). Add the garlic and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring often, for one minute, or until the garlic no longer smells raw. If it sticks, add a little splash of water from the kettle. Add the tomatoes, some salt and all the spices and cook for five or six minutes or until the whole thing comes together into a mass. Taste; it should taste harmonious. Add another small splash of water from the kettle if the pan seems too dry.
  3. Once the lentils have cooked, drain them, but reserve their liquor. Add the lentils to the spiced tomato pan with the cabbage (if using) and a little of the lentil cooking water: it should be a loose dish, but not a curry. Stir for two or three minutes until the cabbage wilts, then taste, adjust the seasoning and paprika and serve.
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