When R was a baby he had curry quite regularly. One of his favourite first dishes was a puréed lentil and cheese dish from the Annabel Karmel book and for some reason he would only eat vegetables if they were in curry. Then of course he turned two and the fear of sauce began. I had all but forgotten about the possibility of giving Indian food to my children when one day I was eating leftover dahl and rice for lunch while baby R ate something else. When she saw what I was eating she wouldn’t rest until I gave her some. She won’t eat rice in any other context but for some reason the dahl looked irresistible to her. She loved it. I now serve dahl and other curries to the children quite regularly and am always surprised how much of it gets eaten. It’s also something that we all like so we can all sit down to eat together – which I think the children really enjoy. More recipes to follow soon.
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons of turmeric
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
A chunk of ginger, chopped
Dried red chillis chopped, to taste, or leave them out altogether. I usually add a small amount and the children don’t seem to mind.
1 tin chopped tomatoes or 4-5 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp curry powder
Lentils, we usually use red lentils but you can use any kind – about one cup makes enough for 2-3 people.
Place the lentils in a saucepan and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric and some salt to taste. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until cooked. Add more water as necessary and stir regularly to avoid sticking. The red lentils usually take about 15-20 minutes but different types will take longer so adjust accordingly.
Heat some oil in a large frying pan. Add the cumin seeds and fry until brown. Add the onion, stir and cook gently until soft. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli then add the turmeric and stir well. Add the tomatoes. Cook for a further five minutes before adding the garam masala and curry powder. Add the lentils when cooked through and stir well. The longer you leave this the better so make in advance or even the day before if you have time.
Serve with rice and/or bread. Enjoy!