A Leftover Experience: Whole Lentil Curry

My cookbook review blog Kitchlit has been sorely neglected these past six months. While I love writing reviews, they do take an inordinate amount of time and energy to complete to any good standard. I’m hoping to get back on top of things in the Fall, but in the meantime, I’m feeling a little guilty about the time I spend over here and at Kitchenisms, while poor Kitchlit is left behind.

Especially since I’m hardly short of reading (and reviewing) material. Anjum’s New Indian was a Christmas present, one that I really should be sharing more of with you. I picked it up the other day to assist with my recent Italian-food embargo, thinking that authentic Indian dishes were just the distraction I needed. The recipe I opted to try, a whole lentil curry, was just the ticket.

I changed very few things from the original recipe, the most fundamental of which was the type of lentils. I wasn’t able to find the specified masoor variety, so I substituted with French puy. Actually, that’s a lie- I didn’t look even look for the right kind, but I had a package of puy burning a hole in my pantry and somehow knew they’d be perfect for this dish. Since the whole appeal of this curry is that the lentils hold their shape during cooking, rather than dissolving into formless mush, I figured what better lentil than the chef’s sturdy favourite?

This curry is delicious over rice for dinner, with some raita or yogurt on the side. But in my opinion, the best way to eat any lentil curry is to heap the leftovers on a heated naan bread (packaged is fine, but homemade better), as a sort of “Indian beans on toast”. Sprinkle with some extra coriander and I guarantee that it will be one of the best leftover experiences of your life.

Now, if I can just sort out my leftover blog, I’ll be all set.


Whole Lentil Curry

adapted from Anjum’s New Indian by Anjum Anand

serves 4-6

  • 250g puy lentils, rinsed
  • 12g fresh peeled ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup passata
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander (leaves and stalks)
  1. Place the lentils and about 1.1 litres of cold water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are soft, about 40 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure the lentils don’t stick.
  2. Meanwhile, make a paste of the ginger and garlic using a food processor or spice grinder (add a splash of water to help them blend). Set aside.
  3. When the lentils are about 10 minutes away from being ready, heat the oil in a small saucepan and add the cumin seeds. Cook until fragrant then add the onion, frying gently until it’s golden brown. Add the ginger/garlic paste and cook for another minute or so, before mixing in the spices and salt.
  4. Pour in the passata and simmer until the mixture has thickened, about 3-5 minutes. At this point, the oil should be coming out of the masala and it will taste smooth.
  5. Add the masala into the pot with the simmering lentils and cook for another 10 minutes. Add a little more water from the kettle if you think the curry is too thick. Stir in the coriander, adjust the salt if necessary, and serve.
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