Sri Lankan Lentil & Coconut Curry

Cooking time
Serves2 people
Sri Lankan Lentil & Coconut Curry

Fresh turmeric gives these lentils their yellow glow while the ginger, cumin and curry leaves pile in the flavour. It's a warming bowlful inspired by the cuisine of Sri Lanka, the jewel of the Indian Ocean.

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  • 150g red lentils
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • A thumb of ginger
  • A thumb of turmeric
  • 1 chilli
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp mild curry powder
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 small green cabbage
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 600ml boiling water
  • 2 tbsp cold water

Prep: 20 mins | Cook: 30-35 mins

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1. Tip the lentils into a bowl. Pour in enough cold water to cover them. Leave to soak for 15 mins.
2. Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and grate the garlic, ginger and turmeric (grate them onto a plate to stop the turmeric staining your work surface or chopping board).
3. Warm 1 tsp olive oil in a deep frying pan or wok. Add the onion and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Fry over a medium heat for 5 mins till the onion is soft and pale golden, stirring every so often. Add a splash of water if it looks like the onion is sticking.
4. Finely slice the chilli – flick out the seeds and white bits for a milder flavour. Grate or pare the zest from the lemon. Juice it. Stir the garlic, ginger, turmeric, chilli and lemon zest into the onion. Cook and stir for 1 min.
5. Measure out 1 tsp each of the ground cumin and curry powder and add to the pan with 6 curry leaves. Drain the lentils and stir them into the pan. Pour in 600ml boiling water and add the coconut milk. Cover. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 20-25 mins till thick, stirring every so often.
6. While the lentil curry simmers, halve the cabbage and finely shred it. Discard any really thick cores.
7. Warm a deep frying pan or wok over a high heat. Add the cabbage with 2 tbsp water and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir fry for 5 mins till tender and lightly browned, adding a splash more water if you think the cabbage needs it to stop it sticking.
8. Spoon the cabbage into 2 warm bowls. Taste the lentils and add a pinch more salt or pepper if you think it needs it. Spoon the curried lentils over the top and serve straight away.
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Easy to cook, delicious, does not take too long. We love it. Will make again.