My favourite pitta dip
- 250 g (8 oz) red lentils
- 850 ml (1.5 pints) water or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 4 green chillies, sliced lengthways
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
- 250 g (8 oz) aubergine, cut into strips
- 240 g (8 oz) can of peeled tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 4 Cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed (or to taste)
- 2 cm (1 ") ginger root, peeled and grated - Try homemade lazy ginger instead.
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds ground to a powder
- 1 teaspoon white cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 scant teaspoon jaggery or sugar
- Rinse the lentils, place in a large pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the turmeric, chillies, coriander leaves and turmeric powder, aubergines and tomatoes and juice, salt & sugar. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are very soft.
- Heat the oil in a small pan. Sauté the onions and garlic for 4 minutes or until soft and golden.
- Add the ginger, cumin, fenugreek and mustard seeds and fry for 2 minutes.
- Stir the onion mix into the lentils and serve.
I like to powder half of the spices and very roughly grind the remaining half to get a coarse spice mix that holds little taste-bursts when you get them.
There is no need to peel ginger. As a result of attending a Thai cookery demo, we have learnt that peeling ginger is unnecessary unless for aesthetic purposes as the skin is high in fibre and full of flavour. However, do remove any bits that have become tough or woody.
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