The perfect winter food - this curry keeps me warm, full, and happy through the harshest weeks of the year. Also lentils count as veg - good news. If you can find fresh curry leaves they make all the difference here - they are tangy and aromatic, and really give this dish a lift. Serves 4.
3 Aubergines, diced
200g Split Red Lentils
3cm piece of ginger, grated
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
12 fresh curry leaves
1 chilli, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato purée
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 x 400 g tin of coconut milk
Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil over a medium heat, add your onions and cook gently until soft and translucent.
Add in the grated ginger, garlic, chilli, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves and continue to fry on a low heat for a couple of minutes to release the flavours
Remove the aromatics from the pan, set aside, and heat a further two tablespoons of oil over a medium to high heat
Add your chopped aubergines and a generous pinch of salt and briskly cook, to drive off some of the water in the vegetable so that it begins melt. Keep going with this until the aubergine has started to really break down and lose its structure.
Add in the split red lentils and fry for a couple of minutes
Add in the tomato paste and garam masala and stir to combine, cooking for one minute further
Return the aromatics to the pan with the coconut milk and a little more salt. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer
Cook until the lentils are totally soft (20-30 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Finish with the juice of the lemon, salt and pepper and eat with brown rice, garlic yoghurt, sautéed veg etc.