I am so excited to share this recipe with you. Having a good, flexible curry recipe up your sleeve to whip out at a moments notice is essential in life, right? I always think if you can master a few decent sauces and have them under your belt you can throw a meal together, using what you have to hand, at the drop of a hat.
Like any good curry, the heat can be altered by altering the amount of fresh chilli, chilli powder and cayenne pepper used. If you make it too hot, add extra coconut milk. If you want it hotter fry off extra fresh chilli, dry chilli and cayenne pepper in a little oil and add it to the curry. Play around with it and make it your own. I used aubergine, chana dal, red pepper and tomato as the ‘filling’ which created a beautiful flavour.
Let’s do this.
Ingredients – Basic curry recipe
- 1 large or 1 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped- any variety will work but ideally not sweet onion like the spanish variety as you want a little fire in there
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped/pressed
- 1/4 inch of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 large tomato, cut into thin wedges
- 1 or 2 fresh chillis, which chilli and the amount used will depend on how spicy you like your curry.
- 1/2 lime
- 3 tbsp oil- any neutral oil will work. I use rapeseed.
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1/2- 1 tsp cayenne powder
- 1/2 – 1 tsp chilli powder
- Coconut milk – this is dependent on personal taste and the strength of spices and chilli. As a guide I use approximately 1/3 of a tin.
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup aubergine, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup chana dal, rinsed
- 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
- Spring onion or coriander leaves to garnish
- Add 3 tbsp of oil to a warmed, heavy bottom saucepan and add chopped onion.
- Cook onion over a medium heat for approximately 20 minutes or until very golden brown but not burnt (see photo below demonstrating the three stages)
- Add chopped garlic, ginger and fresh chilli to onions and fry for one minute until fragrant.
- Add all dried spices and fry for a further minute, stirring to prevent spices burning.
- Add fresh tomato, squeeze of lime, one cup of water and 1/3 tin of coconut milk
- Let this simmer for 5 minutes to infuse the flavours and then taste. Season as required and decide if you need more coconut milk or more spice – if so, add now.
- Add diced aubergine, lentils, tomato and red pepper, 1 more cup of water (you may need to top this up to keep the mixture loose and give the lentils enough liquid to cook but you can judge this by eye) and let the curry simmer until the lentils are soft but still retain some bite.
- Garnish with coriander leaves or the chopped, green end of spring onion.
*I have separated these ingredients under ‘additional ingredients’ as I chose to use these based on the availability of my fridge and my own tastes. If you love mushrooms, green peppers and spinach – use those instead. If you only have red lentils – use those instead (but reduce cooking time). Play about with the basic recipe and make it your own. That said, I do think the chana dal works beautifully in this curry.
The naan breads are quick, easy and vegan friendly. I will put them on a separate post to follow to keep things nice and simple!