Beluga lentils are a little larger and rounder than other lentils and are black and shiny, which makes them look more like beans. They are in fact a great substitute for small varieties of beans, with an added bonus – there is no need to soak them first, which makes beluga lentils a very convenient ingredient. They hold their shape well, add colour, soft pleasant texture and mildly nutty flavour to any dish. They are full of character and add plenty of it to this simple dish.
I like my recipes to be simple and practical so in this recipe I used only the most popular curry spices: cumin, turmeric and coriander, plus a few others, such as cinnamon and nutmeg which I think work really well with both the curry spices and the coconut oil.
This recipe can be enjoyed as a vegan main dish, which can be served with rice, naan bread or quinoa, but it can also be a side dish, served alongside other dishes if you are cooking for a larger group of people. This recipe is dairy and gluten free, very low in fat (only 2 tablespoons of it), and if you make a large enough batch it can also be enjoyed the next day.
1/2 cup beluga lentils
3 medium/large tomatoes, chopped Spices
2 medium onions, finely chopped 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, finely chopped 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 celery stick, finely chopped 1/3 teaspoon each cinnamon
2 tablespoons coconut oil and nutmeg
1 bay leaf 6 green cardamom pods
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 red pepper, deseeded, roughly chopped
2/3 tablespoon coarse sea salt, plus plenty of pepper
1/4 cup water (± a couple of tablespoons depending on how thick you want the sauce to be)
4 tablespoons coriander, finely chopped
In a pan toast the coriander and cumin seeds for a couple of minutes stirring constantly. Grind them to a powder in a pestle and mortar and set aside.
In a pot heat up the coconut oil, add the bay leaf, ginger, garlic, stir and add all the spices. Stir and cook for a minute or so on a medium heat. Add the lentils, celery, tomatoes, tomato paste and the pepper, season and stir thoroughly. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the water half way through cooking. Serve with fresh coriander.