There is something so mouth-watering about the flavours of an Indian inspired dish simmering away on the stove top. During Winter, those spices provide a tummy-warming comfort that feels like you have been swaddled in a thick woollen blanket. But, during the warmer months, just like now, its the perfect dish to be enjoyed outside on the deck, that warm summer breeze cooling the skin after a day of sun and sand and a glass of something cool, crisp and sparkling to wash it all down with. Either way it is one very satisfying meal indeed.
It also reheats beautifully, and in fact I think its better a couple of days later as the flavours develop. All you need is a side of steamed cardamom rice, white or brown, and a big dollop of cooling lemony yoghurt.
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon vadouvan spice mix
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
10 curry leaves
1 red onion, diced
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 garlic clove, finely diced
400g eggplant, cut into cubes
200g pumpkin, skin removed and cut into cubes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
400g can cherry tomatoes
400g can lentils, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup greek yoghurt
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 clove of garlic, finely diced
salt and pepper to taste
small handful of chopped parsley
Mix all of the ingredients together, taste to see if it needs any more seasoning or a little more lemon juice.
250g basmati rice
4 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups water
Place everything into a medium saucepan, bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid. cook for 10 minutes and then turn off the heat and leave it to sit for another 10 minutes or until you are ready to serve.
For the Kasoundi
Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan, I like to use my cast iron pot for this as its just the perfect size. Add the spices and seeds, then the curry leaves, cook for a couple of minutes or until the seeds start to pop. Be careful though, the little buggers like to try and get you!
Add the ginger and onion and cook for another 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook, while still stirring for another 5-8 minutes or until the onion starts to soften. Add the eggplant and pumpkin and stir it all together, add the sugar and cook for 10-12 minutes until the eggplant starts to soften. Pop the vinegar, tomatoes and 1 cup of water into the pot, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat so its just simmering away nicely and allow it to bubble away for 30 minutes. stir through the lentils and add salt and pepper to your liking.
I like to serve this straight from the pot with the rice and yoghurt on the side so that everyone can serve themselves. Except for when its just Ben and I, then I pile all of those delicious flavours right on top of the rice and dollop that yoghurt all over the top. Its also particularly delicious served with a few crispy pappadums too!