I used to make this curry a lot, and then it kind of slipped my mind for a while. Quite a long while, actually.
When I decided to go vegan for January, the concept was so different to my normal eating habits (especially considering the month of December when my cheese and meat consumption hit an all-time high) that I naturally assumed I would need to create a whole month’s worth of new recipes. Feeling somewhat overwhelmed, I pulled out all of my cookbooks and, armed with post-it notes and a sharpie, went about marking all of the vegan recipes. I then did a similar thing with my online reading list. Then the obsessive Google searching began.
Just as I was reaching smoothie bowl recipe saturation point, I stopped and realised that a lot of the food I make is vegan, anyway.
Accidentally vegan, yes, but vegan all the same. In my meat-free mania, I had overlooked my own recipe archive as it hadn’t occurred to me that there would be anything useful in there. How wrong I was.
As I was looking through the folder marked ‘vegetarian,’ I came across this old thing: a curry that I have made so many times, at least until recently. It was one of the first vegetarian dishes I cooked, rather than took out of a packet and assembled, when I started to become reacquainted with my kitchen in my early twenties. It was little more than a handful of spices, a few vegetables and some lentils, but I could make it myself. And everybody loved it.
With a bit of a nostalgic glow, I decided to make it for my first Veganuary supper. As I brought it to the table, my meat-eating husband, whom I will be inflicting vegan suppers upon for a month, looked up and said: “It’s been a while since you made this! I always used to love this curry.” No word about it being vegan. Mission accomplished.
Red Lentil, Potato and Pea Curry
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces
100g red lentils
400g tin chopped tomatoes
250ml coconut milk
250ml vegetable stock
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp fine salt
1 tsp sugar
150g frozen peas
1 tbsp lemon juice
Coriander, finely chopped, to finish
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions until soft and translucent but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and spices and cook for a further couple of minutes until they release their fragrance. Remove from the heat and stir in the potato pieces and lentils until well coated in the spice mixture.
Return the pan to the heat and add the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, vegetable stock, garam masala, salt and sugar. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for half an hour, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the peas and cook for a further five minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and coriander.