Aubergine and Lentil Vindaloo

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (April 2019) and taken from Cooking on a Bootstrap by Jack Monroe.

If you don’t like aubergine, use mushrooms.  Lentils could also be kidney beans, baked beans, black beans, brown or green lentils, or yellow split peas – for protein.  The flavour speaks for itself, or rather shouts, sings and dances!IMG_1859

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:
1 large aubergine or 2 small aubergines, diced
50g dried red lentils
3 onions, finely sliced
Oil, for frying
4 fat garlic cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cumin, seeds or ground
1/4 star anise, or 1/8 tsp fennel seeds
A good grind of black pepper
1-2 tsp chilli flakes
2 tblsp tomato puree
2 tblsp vinegar or lemon juice, fresh or bottled
A fistful of spinach

Step One : In a bowl, sprinkle the aubergine with a good pinch of salt, then set aside.

Step Two : Thoroughly rinse the lentils and place them in a pan.  Cover with water – no salt or they will take an age to cook – and bring to the boil.  When the water is boiling, reduce to a simmer for 12 minutes, until the lentils are soft.  Drain, rinse and set aside.

Step Three : Meanwhile, toss the onions into a large pan with a little oil and, over medium heat, soften for 10 minutes.  Add the garlic cloves, peeled but whole, and the aubergine, stirring to stop it sticking.  Cook for 15 minutes, adding more oil if needed.

Step Four : Add the cinnamon, cumin, star anise, or fennel, and pepper, but only half of your chosen quantity of chilli.  (It is easy to add, but difficult to temper down if you misjudge it, so I put in half the chilli to cook, and leave half to garnish.)  Stir well to combine, then add 200ml water to the pan, and crank up the heat to medium-high.

Step Five : Add the lentils, tomato puree and vinegar or lemon juice and stir.  Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover, stirring slowly now and again.  It should take around 30 minutes to meld into glossy, orange goodness, and the liquid should thicken to an unctuous sauce.  If it is too watery, bring it back to the boil, reduce the heat and cook a little more.  Stir through the spinach a few minutes before serving.  This vindaloo is delicious with boiled rice, which makes it go further.

Other great cookbooks that help you keep an eye on the pennies:-

Beetballs

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (April 2019) and taken from Cooking on a Bootstrap by Jack Monroe.

These are based on a beetroot burger recipe from Lee Watson’s vegan recipe book, Peace and Parsnips.  For a gluten-free version, replace the bread with a tablespoon or two of your preferred gluten-free flour.

IMG_1858

Makes : 20

Ingredients:
200g dried red lentils
1 small onion, finely sliced
2 fat garlic cloves, finely sliced
150g cooked beetroot (not the kind in vinegar; go for cheaper, vacuum-packed beets), finely diced
2 tblsp oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 tsp cumin or coriander, seeds or ground
1 slice of bread or a pitta
A pinch of salt
1 tblsp lemon juice, fresh or bottled

Step One : Thoroughly rinse the lentils under a cold tap, then pop into a pan. Cover with water and bring to the boil; do not add any salt at this stage or the lentils may ‘seize’ and never soften. Sad, but true. Reduce to a simmer and cook for around 15 minutes, until very soft, swollen and translucent.

Step Two : Meanwhile, put the oil, onion and garlic into a pan. Add the finely diced beetroot and the spice of your choice, and soften over a medium heat, stirring regularly to stop the ingredients from sticking and burning.

Step Three : Skim any scum from the top of the lentils using a spoon, then drain and rinse them thoroughly. Tip into a mixing bowl along with the onion, garlic and beetroot, and mash to a pulp. An ordinary jug blender, or any kind of food processor, will make this job easier, but it’s not essential; a fork or masher and a good dollop of elbow grease will yield a pretty satisfying result, too.

Step Four : When it’s rough pulp, grate the bread into crumbs and mix through, with a pinch of salt and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Cover the mixture and chill it in the fridge for half an hour to firm up.

Step Five : When firm to the touch, preheat the oven to 180oC / 350oF / Gas mark 4. Shape the mixture into small balls and place them on a lightly greased baking tray. Drizzle the top of the balls with a little extra oil, or brush each one if you can be bothered, and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes, turning over halfway through. Serve immediately.

Other great cookbooks that help you keep an eye on the pennies:-