There is only one thing that can beat the good feeling of finishing a book you’ve enjoyed, and that’s finding some reference to it in real life. Reading a novel set in India leaves you with a desire for some nice spicy food and finding Indian recipes in the book came as a great surprise when I turned the last page of the novel and found there was more content. The novel was Ladies Coupé by Anita Nair and it was the spring of 2011.
I had to try some of the recipes found at the end of the book right away. I wanted the story to linger, I wanted to smell it in my house. The recipe I chose to try was “cauliflower lentil curry”, but since I had no cauliflower I just decided to adapt it and make it without one ingredient. I loved it so much that 5 years later this is still my favourite way to make lentils. So here’s my adaptation of Anita Nair’s lentil curry.
Coconut lentil curry (serves 2)
- 2 yellow onions
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tbsp chili flakes
- 2 cans of lentils (400 g each)
- 5 tbsp shredded coconut
- salt to taste
Mince the onion. In a large pan warm up the oil and stir-fry the onion until lightly softened. Add the chilli, curry powder and turmeric and keep stir-frying it on medium-high heat.Drain one can of lentils and add them to the pan. Add the second can whole, lentils and liquid. Add salt to taste. Let simmer on medium heat, lid on, for about 15 minutes. After that, add the shredded coconut and keep simmering uncovered until the lentils’ own cooking liquid evaporates.Heart-warming as it is, this dish is best served immediately, still steamy and spicy and flavourful. I loved it so much like this that I never really even tried making the original recipe with cauliflower. This became my own version, my interpretation of it.Now that winter is slowly approaching this dish will be served again in my house. I know, it’s insane to talk about winter already, but I’ve had the autumn feeling for some time now with leaves turning yellow and mornings at 10°C. The only thing still reminding me this is still sort of summer is the amount of daylight, still pretty decent (on days that are not overcast. Those days are much darker). But nights get dark again, and apparently we have already been visited by the first aurora borealis of the season. I missed it as I was asleep, so I’m waiting for the next apparition to properly greet this favourite wintertime feature of mine.