It all started about a month ago, Valentine’s day to be exact. I was serving dinner for three couples and the theme was red. So, there I was looking at a bag of split red lentils and wondering how to make them look more red. Raw, red lentils are at best an orangy color and cooked they are barely yellow. I was serving chicken Tandoori and to avoid any flavour clash, especially on that day, it seemed best to have the lentils “Tandoori” as well. It took a few attempts to perfect the recipe, hence the delay. But this a good one and I might even have it again with the Easter lamb in a couple weeks, so here is the post, I won’t keep you waiting until Valentine’s day 2014.
For six servings you will need to simmer 2+1/2 cups of pre-rinsed split red lentils (454 gr.) in 2 l salted water until they are cooked and fairly mushy, over 30 minutes. Add extra water if necessary. The lentils must be split and all red lentils. I have tried other mixes and it did not work as well, as the cooking times are very different and the texture of other lentils does not absorb the curry well. While the lentils cook, saute one onion and 2 diced Chinese eggplants in olive oil and simmer until soft. Add a crushed garlic clove just before it’s done. By now, the lentils should make a nice puree-like dish, add 1/3 of a jar of Patak’s Tandoori curry paste, stir, add the eggplant and onion and stir all together gently. Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro and enjoy.
You can cook this the day before and re-heat it. In that case, add the cilantro just before eating. I recommend using Chinese eggplant with the skin as they hold up well diced and don’t have too many seeds. I split them lengthwise and then slice them about 1/2 inch thick.