You know something is a hit when your lad says “Mum that was SO good, it REALLY was!” despite you secretly foisting lentils and walnuts off on him *witchy mum cackle*.
Seriously, this is a damn fine curry; the lentils give it body and mean you don’t have to shell out a fortune on tons of chicken. The walnuts are crunchy but soft and smooth, giving a little bit of bite among the creaminess that comes from a whole tub of creme fraiche.
Spicy, creamy, lentil’y, nutty, chicken’y gorgeousness.
P.S. He just came in and said “Muuum…is there any of that curry left??”
I know this looks long but it’s not really!
In a large shallow pan fry the onion, sugar and garlic in plenty of olive oil until the onion is translucent. Then add all the dried spices apart from the chilli flakes, give it a good stir and cook gently for a couple of minutes.
Add the lentils and stir to coat them in the onion and spices then tip in the creme fraiche, chilli flakes, almonds and salt and simmer for 5 mins.
Add the passata and tomato puree and a couple of mugfuls of boiling water, then add the chicken and give it all a stir. Simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils are cooked and the chicken pieces are cooked through. After 5 mins of simmering, add the walnuts.
At this stage taste it and add more seasoning if necessary. If it gets too thick add some natural yoghurt/creme fraiche or another mugful of boiling water (remember water will dilute the taste.)
Finally, if using spinach add it now and stir, cook for another couple of minutes until it’s slightly wilted but still nice and green.
Serve with rice and fresh coriander.
Lentils are rich in iron, folate and B vitamins. Folate is critical for brain and nervous system health and particularly so for developing embryos. B vits are key players in energy production and iron helps transport oxygen around the body.
They also provide protein and fibre and help to stabilise blood sugar. Lentils, like beans, are also a fantastic source of the little-discussed mineral, Molybdenum. Molybdenum plays an important role in nervous signalling and brain function, and in these days of high stress and of poor foods that degenerate the brain it’s vital to give the pathways a big helping hand.
Marry the one who gives you the same feeling you get when you see food coming in a restaurant.