The author of the Louise Parker Method shares her favourite healthy curry recipe
Nothing pleases me more than curry night at my parents. Daddy’s chana dhal is so delicious, you’ll make it time and time again. His secret is to cook it a couple of days before and, if you have a vegetable patch, it’s a fantastic way of using up the inevitable glut of courgettes in the summer months, throwing any leftovers in the freezer for warming winter suppers, or to liven up a simple grilled piece of firm fish. Perfect for feeding large crowds on a budget. The girls love my mild version, and dip in steaming mini wholemeal pitta crisps for a light snack.
For the dhal:
1 tablespoon groundnut oil or ghee
4 onions, grated
1 tablespoon each ground cumin, ground coriander and curry powder
2 tablespoons (thumb-sized piece) peeled and grated fresh root ginger
8 tomatoes, roughly chopped
300g (1. cups) chana dhal lentils, rinsed
1 whole garlic bulb, halved
4 green chillies, chopped, plus red or green chilli, to serve
4 carrots, grated
8 large courgettes, quartered
4 baby aubergines, halved
800ml (3. cups) vegetable stock
sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
leaves from 1 bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons coconut cream
For the raita:
1 cucumber, deseeded and chopped
300g (1. cups) 0% Greek yogurt
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt and black pepper
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the groundnut oil or ghee in a casserole dish over a medium-low heat, add the onions and stir until very soft (about 5 minutes).
2. Now add the spices and ginger, reduce the heat to low and stir for 2 minutes until fragrant.
3. Add the tomatoes and lentils and stir together until the lentils are coated.
4. Simply throw in all of the remaining ingredients up to the mustard seeds (leave these out for now) and simmer for 30–40 minutes until the lentils are soft and beautifully thick.
5. Add a dash of water if you prefer a looser consistency, and give it a good stir every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking.
6. Meanwhile, pour the remaining oil or ghee into a small frying pan and fry the mustard seeds, lid on or they’ll jump all over the kitchen. Set aside.
7. Mix together all the ingredients for the raita.
8. Now fish out the garlic and transfer the dhal to bowls.
9. Sprinkle each with the toasted mustard seeds, coriander leaves, chilli and a drizzle of coconut cream.
10. Serve with the raita.
Recipe taken from The Louise Parker Method: Lean for Life: The Cookbook by Louise Parker. Published by Mitchell Beazley, £20.00 (www.octopusbooks.co.uk)