Winter Eggs

Lentil curry with eggs

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This meat-free lentil curry dish with eggs provides all the protein you need. Not only is it spicy and filling, it can also be put together in no time.

Serves 4-6

This recipe originally appeared in my second cookbook, Egg (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Ingredients

  • 400g brown lentils
  • 30g fresh ginger, peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 red chillies, stalks removed
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped (you could also use tinned peeled plum tomatoes, drained, seeded and chopped)
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 20g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt

For the spice mix

  • 1 tsp cardamom pods
  • 6 cloves
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

  • Put the lentils into a large pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and leave to cook for 15-20 minutes, or until tender, topping up the water if needed.
  • Meanwhile, make the spice mix. Place a large frying pan, without any oil, over a medium heat and add the cardamom pods, cloves and cumin seeds. After about 30 seconds they should start to give off a toasted, fragrant aroma. Shake the pan gently and cook for another 30 seconds then immediately remove from the heat and grind in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Once partially ground, you can remove and discard the papery husks of the cardamom, releasing the black seeds inside. Continue grinding until you have a coarse powder. Add the turmeric, bay leaves and cinnamon stick and set aside.
  • Put the ginger, garlic, whole chillies, onion and salt into a food processor and blitz to make a paste. Return the frying pan to the heat and add the oil. When it is hot, add the paste and fry over a medium heat for a few minutes. Then add the spice mix and the tomatoes and cook on a low heat for another 5 minutes or so.
  • When the lentils are tender, strain them to remove any excess liquid (reserving the liquid) and return the lentils to the pan. Add all the aromatic spice mixture and the boiled eggs to the pan and stir well. If the mixture looks too dry add some of the reserved liquid to make a loose sauce.
  • Cook the lentils for another 5 minutes so they become infused with the spice flavours. (Up to this point, everything can be done in advance and reheated when needed.)
  • When you’re ready to serve, sprinkle with the chopped coriander and stir in the yoghurt to make a creamy sauce surrounding the lentils and eggs. This is delicious on its own although you could serve with some sauteed spinach and steamed basmati rice.

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