Cauliflower dhal curry

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Sadly I can’t claim to have picked up this recipe from some glamorous trip to India where I wore harem pants for months and ‘found myself’. But, living in Manchester has naturally given me a bit of a love for the ubiquitous curry and I’ve experimented quite a bit with some of the wonderful spices that are found in this delicious and varied cuisine.

For me, the complex spicing of curries work best with vegetables, fish or with Paneer rather than meat which tends to make it heavier.

The beauty of this one is that it is filling without feeling stodgy. To make it (or any curry) I’d recommend buying the spices whole rather than ground and toasting and grinding them at home – it greatly intensifies and improves the flavour. It does call for a lot of ingredients but it’s totally worth it and once you’ve tried making curry this way, you’ll never want to reach for a jar of Pataks again.

Ingredients:
For the curry paste:
2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp fenugreek
1 tbsp tumeric
1 tbsp chilli powder
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
3cm piece fresh ginger
1 small onion

1 cauliflower
100g green lentils
1 bag spinach
4 cardamon pods
400g chopped tomatoes
100g Greek yoghurt
Fresh coriander leaves (for garnish)
Basmati rice (to serve with curry)

1. Prepare the cauliflower by chopping into florettes and adding to a pan of boiling water. Cook through until soft but not falling apart, drain and keep aside.
2. Whilst the cauliflower is cooking, make the spice paste by toasting the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds in a small pan until slightly browned.
3. Once toasted, pound the spices in a pestle and mortar or in a spice grinder until reduced to a powder.
4. Finely chop the onion and garlic and grate the ginger finely. Add it all to a large pan on med-high heat with the vegetable oil.
5. Add the tomato paste, pour over the pounded spice mix and add the tumeric, fenugreek and chilli powder.
6. Mix together to form the paste, being careful not to allow it to stick to the pan.
7. Once the onions are softened, add the tin of tomatoes and mix thoroughly.
8. Add the lentils, then add a glass of water, cover and allow the lentils to cook through for 20 mins (check to ensure if extra water needs to be added).
9. Once the lentils are cooked, add the cooked cauliflower (note these will add a lot of water to the curry so ensure its not too watery beforehand).
10. Add the spinach and 2 large tbsp yoghurt and mix the curry together.
11. Season with a good amount of salt and a tsp of sugar.
12. Serve with Basmati rice, more yoghurt and a few coriander leaves.

A deliciously healthy curry for the summer!

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