I try to always have a couple of portions of this dish in my freezer. It's super tasty, inexpensive and totally satisfying on a chilly night. I just recently discovered tamarind and it's added a lovely brightness to this recipe. The addition of kale (red Russian kale from our garden) makes this a complete meal. Leftovers are perfect for lunch.
It's essentially a dhal type recipe but I'm hesitant to call it that because I use the completely non Indian ingredient of hot smoked paprika. It may seem a little sacrilegious but I love the sweet heat and smokiness it adds.
Whenever I'm making this I think of a friend of mine who comes from a big Indian family of great cooks and just self published a beautiful book of her families recipes. I wonder if she'd approve of this dish. I plan to get brave and serve it to her one day soon.
Tamarind, coconut & kale lentils
2 cups brown lentils
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 can coconut cream
1 can tinned tomatoes (preferably cherry tomatoes)
1 large bunch kale (or silverbeet) separated from stems and chopped.
Small handful of coriander chopped.
2 large onions chopped
2 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp turmeric
6 cloves garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp tamarind puree
3 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 large red chill (deseeded)
2 Tbsp coconut oil or ghee
Chop the onions. I like to cut the onions in half and thinly slice into half circles (rather than dicing) to add a little texture to the dish.
Melt the coconut oil in a large heavy based pot on a medium heat. Gently fry the onions, garlic, ginger and chilli.
Add all the spices and cook gently until fragrant.
Add the lentils and stock. Bring to the boil and leave for five minutes. Add the tamarind puree. Turn the stove down to a simmer and let it bubble away for approx 1/2 hour. Stir regularly.
Add the tin of tomatoes and leave to simmer for another 1/2 hour. Stir regularly. If the pot is looking too dry during this time, add a 1/2 - 1 1/2 cup of water.
Use a masher to break up some of the lentils and provide a kind of gravy. Do this until the dish has reach a desired consistency. About 30 seconds of mashing usually gets it to where I like it.
Add the can of coconut cream and the kale. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Taste to check seasoning and add salt / pepper if desired. Stir through coriander.
Serve on top of brown rice with a dollop of greek yogurt on top.
(vegetarian if using vegetable stock, gluten free)