This is a traditional British curry, in that it’s completely inauthentic and bears only a passing resemblance to anything served on the Indian sub-continent. (I toyed with the idea of calling this a dal but decided that was a bridge too far.) However, this lentil and mushroom curry is quick, simple to make, highly nutritious and vegan, and you can easily adjust the spice levels to your own preference. The lentils and coconut make the sauce lovely and creamy without the addition of any dairy products, although if you’re not strictly vegan, you might enjoy a dollop of natural yogurt on the top.
Kipper always says she doesn’t like curry, and then wolfs it down. This one was no exception. She was picking at the rice, and I encouraged her to just try a mushroom, just one, and see. She nibbled it gingerly. “It’s yukky!” she announced. And had another nibble. And another. The mushroom was gone. Why don’t you try another mushroom and see if that one’s better? I suggested. She did. “This one’s yummy!” she said, through a mouthful of mushroom curry. Her father and I agreed that it was a shame she’d got the one dud mushroom in the whole curry first, but we were glad she persevered. She ate all her mushrooms after that 🙂
This makes enough for 3-4 people. The leftovers are great for lunch – I had them on toast 🙂
Lentil and mushroom curry with coconut
You will need:
4 tbsp vegetable oil (I used sunflower, but only because I’d run out of coconut oil)
2 medium onions
3-4 tbsp curry paste – choose one with a heat rating that appeals to you
85g red lentils
400ml hot vegetable stock
50g sachet of creamed coconut
Rice and chopped coriander or flat-leaf parsley, to serve
What to do:
Peel the onions and slice into crescents. Brush any dirt from the mushrooms and cut them in half.
Heat the oil in a wide pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until they too are beginning to turn brown – about 5-6 minutes in total. You may need to add another tbsp or two of oil if the pan is looking dry.
Add the curry paste to the onions and mushrooms, and fry, stirring for 1-2 minutes. Add the lentils, vegetable stock and coconut, and mix well.
Bring to the boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are fully cooked. Stir occasionally to prevent the lentils sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Serve with rice, and chopped parsley or coriander.