2 onions chopped
2 mild red chillies with seeds removed and chopped
10 cm piece of ginger peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic peeled
2 tbsp tumeric
2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp medium curry powder
4 tbsp oil – for vegans or ghee/ butter for non-vegans to cook the paste in
one large aubergine
drizzle of olive oil
200g red split lentils
200g yellow split lentils – check on the packet but both these can be cooked without soaking overnight.
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp sugar
500ml vegetable stock
12 cardamon pods – lightly crushed
2 cinnamon sticks
salt and pepper to taste
juice of two lemons
chopped coriander to garnish
Begin by making the paste, add all the paste ingredients to a food processor and blitz until well blended or use a little muscle power with a pestle and mortar.
Heat the oil or butter in a saucepan and sauté the paste mix for a few minutes – stir all the time so that the mix does not burn. Add the cardamon and cinnamon – the flavours will develop in the cooking. Set aside.
Chop the aubergine into 1cm cubes and place on a baking tray, sprinkle with a drizzle of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, cook for 10 minutes in a hot oven until slightly soft. Remove and set aside.
Wash and drain the lentils, add to the paste saucepan and then stir in the tomatoes, sugar, vegetable stock, salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the dal for 30/40 minutes on the top of the stove, I like the lentils to keep some shape and the dal not to be too liquidy but you can adjust the consistency with the amount of stock that you add.
Once cooked stir in the lemon juice. You may wish to remove the cardamon pods and cinnamon sticks at the point. Transfer to a warm bowl and top with the cooked aubergine and chopped coriander.