Indian-inspired curries are a staple of our diet. I make them all year round and I like to vary them according to the fresh local produce. Most of the time, these meals tend to be vegetarian dishes and very often they are also vegan.
This is the simplest curry dish I have ever made and includes ingredients which are easily found in my kitchen. However, the complexity of flavours in this dish, thanks to the various spices used, makes it also one of our favourites. There is no fixed rule to include all spices in the recipe. It can be adjusted to your tastes and availability of ingredients but keep in mind that the end result may vary slightly.
I like to serve curry dishes with rice and/or naan bread. To spice up the plain rice, I like to add half a teaspoon of turmeric in the water while cooking. It will be absorbed by the rice and will also give a bright yellow colour, which adds to the aesthetics. Sometimes I also add cumin seeds which give a pleasant taste to the rice.
Although making naan bread at home can be a lengthy process, the recipe below allows you to make your own naan bread in just 30 minutes. And the best thing about it is that you can control the amount of fat/butter to put in it. Unfortunately, the naan bread recipe here is not suitable for vegans since it includes dairy milk. I have always used dairy milk to make my naan bread, so I cannot tell if it works out with a non-dairy milk too. I would be very interested to hear about your experience if you try them out with a non-dairy milk!
Instead of putting butter/oil in the pan, I prefer to brush one side of the rolled out dough with melted butter. I do use garlic butter here sometimes to add more flavour. Otherwise you can opt for coconut oil, which also works out fine.
Red Lentil Curry
An aromatic dish full of flavour inspired by Indian cuisine.
- 200g dried red lentils
- 400g vegetable stock (you can use water instead)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, thinly chopped
- 1/4 tsp chili flakes (optional)
- 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger root, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 400g chunky tomato passata
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 300g brown rice
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- Rinse the red lentils properly until water comes out clean. Cook them in the vegetable stock until tender but do not overcook them.
- In a large saucepan, heat the coconut oil and then add the diced onion. Sauté until translucent.
- Add the garlic, chili flakes, cardamom seeds, cumin, coriander, bay leaves and ginger to the onion and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the garam masala and turmeric and mix everything well.
- Pour in the tomatoes and stir in the sugar. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Season to taste.
- In the meantime, cook the rice adding 1 tsp of ground turmeric to the water. This will give a bright yellow colour as well as great taste.
- Just before serving, mix the red lentils together with the tomato sauce and serve with rice. This will ensure that the lentils are not too mushy and overcooked. You may also serve this dish together with naan bread.
Here’s a recipe for a quick way to make your own naan bread at home.
A side dish to your Indian curries.
- 225g flour
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 120ml milk
- 2 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.
- Create a well in the middle and pour in the milk and the oil. Combine everything together until it forms a ball. Knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes until it is very smooth and elastic.
- Let the dough rest for at least 15 minutes. Divide into 8 equal pieces.
- Heat the pan over medium-high heat. Roll out each piece of dough until very thin – almost see through. Liberally brush one side with melted butter.
- Place the rolled out dough in your hot pan butter side down and cover it with a lid. Cook the naan bread for 1-2 minutes on each side. Continue to do so with your remaining dough.
- Place them in a plate/basket, preferably covered with a cloth and serve them warm.