Happy new year! It’s been a while since my last post, which isn’t just because I spent the Christmas break sitting around playing video games and stuffing my face with mince pies (I totally did, though). I haven’t really baked anything new in a while, so I thought I’d make my first post of 2016 all about this delicious and super healthy sweet potato, red lentil and spinach curry I made tonight – perfect for those well-intentioned new year’s resolutions.
This is another variation on my staple curry recipe, with some small tweaks to tip the spicing towards a heady note. I made a similar curry for my other half a while ago, and he was obsessed with the clove flavour coming through from the garam masala (which I make myself). My current garam masala blend isn’t quite so clove-y, so I’ve added some ground cloves to this recipe, along with extra ground cumin.
The great thing about this recipe is how flexible it is – you can swap out the sweet potato and/or carrot for butternut squash or standard potatoes (top tip: red potatoes work best in curries, as they seem to soak up the flavours better than the white variety), leave out the spinach if you don’t have any to hand, throw in some split yellow lentils or even chickpeas instead of the red lentils… Just adapt it to whatever you have in the kitchen!
Did I mention that this curry is super healthy? Yes? Well, I’ll say it again – this is so good for you. I’m pretty sure you get your five a day with this recipe, and the vegetables are packed with all sorts of lovely vitamins. If you stick to my measures, the curry itself clocks in at around 400 calories, with yogurt and whatever carbs you fancy (chapatis or naan are ideal, but rice works fine as well) adding a bit extra on top. I had a mini naan from Tesco with mine (I couldn’t quite face making chapatis after my first day back at work!), which only added 127 calories to the total.
Do give this a go if you want something comforting during the winter months, but without the fat. I promise that it’ll cheer you up! In the meantime, I’ll think about something interesting to bake for the next post… all suggestions are welcome!
Serves 2, easily doubled
Approx. 400 calories per serving, not including rice/bread
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 0.5 tsp cumin seeds
- 0.5 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 small white or red onion, chopped
- 1 thin green chilli, finely chopped
- a 1-inch cube of ginger, finely grated
- 1 garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped
- 0.25 tsp red chilli powder
- 0.5 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 80g red lentils
- 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered, or 1-2 larger tomatoes, chopped
- 160g frozen spinach (or approx. 100g of fresh spinach)
- 0.5 tsp ground cloves (or 4-5 whole cloves)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garam masala
- a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
- salt, to taste
- yogurt and rice/chapattis/naan, to serve
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. If using whole cloves, add those too.
- When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the chopped onion and fry gently for a couple of minutes, being careful to not let the seeds burn.
- Add the green chilli, ginger, garlic, red chilli powder and turmeric and cook – still very gently – for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
- Stir in the sweet potatoes, carrot, red lentils and tomatoes.
- Pour in enough hot water to just about cover the contents of the pan and bring to the boil, before putting a lid on the pan and simmering on a low heat for 20 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan, and top up with water if required (but try not to, as the spinach will release water anyway).
- Add the spinach and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Take the pan off the hob and stir in the ground cloves, ground cumin, garam masala and coriander. Season with salt to taste.
- Remove the whole cloves if you used them (but don’t worry if you can’t find them – just warn any guests!). Serve with a dollop of yogurt and naan, chapattis or rice as desired.