I learnt to really love lentils in university, when my fantastic housemate Simon showed me how to properly cook them, and the many, magical ways that such a simple and cheap ingredient could be used. We would make massive vats of them and eat nothing but lentils for days. They seem to have the ability to soak up so many different kinds of flavours. This recipe may seem a bit more involved than others, but believe me its worth it. And really do roast and grind the spices, the difference in taste from ready-ground is massive. If you can eat them, and have the time, it really is worth adding the eggs, delicious and perfect protein hit.
100g green lentils
1 can coconut milk, with water added to make up 1 pint of liquid
1 rounded tsp lime pickle, lumps chopped up
juice and zest of ½ a fresh lime
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
2.5 cm piece of ginger, grated/chopped finely
3 cardamom pods
1 level tsp cumin seeds
1 level tsp fennel seeds
1 level dessertspoon coriander seeds
1 rounded tsp turmeric powder
1 level tsp fenugreek powder
large heavy-bottomed frying pan with a lid
heat the frying pan and when hot add the whole spices and dry-roast for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time. As soon as they start to jump/colour remove from the heat and tip into a mortar and grind.
Put the oil in the pan and heat, when very hot and add the onions and let sizzle and brown at the edges for about 4 minutes, then turn the heat down and add the chilli, ginger, garlic and lime pickle, along with the turmeric and fenugreek powders. Then add the ground roasted spices and give a good stir.
Next add the lentils, lime zest and coconut liquid, stir and bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down. Put the lid on and allow to simmer as gently as possible for 45 minutes. Check from time to time and see if it needs a little more water.
10 minutes before its ready, boil the eggs for 6-7 minutes and peel. Then the curry is ready, season and add lime juice, stick the peeled eggs and leave everything to cook through for a couple more minutes with the lid on.