food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

tandoori lentil potato and eggplant hashNo apologies for another lentil recipe in such quick succession. It’s the blinkin’ weather, I’m afraid. We really should be flirting outrageously with the new season’s produce, but since none of them are up for it – being under the snow and all – we are still indulging in stews, roasts, crumbles and other wintry fare.

No matter. It’s a great excuse to eat potatoes. And spicy potatoes at that. Thinnish coins of scrubbed new potatoes; little hash-style cubes of plump, regal eggplant; hearty, toothsome obsidian-black lentils. All sizzled up in a heady fug of Indian spicing. Although I am still a bit cross that someone ordered a double winter, Asian comfort food provides needed warmth and welcome spice. 

I made today’s recipe after preparing another, lovely sounding, dish for my family. We saw it – macher jhol –  being prepared on the telly by a famous UK chef. This soupy fish curry, with a plethora of traditional Bangladeshi spicing (panch phoran, Kashmiri chilli, cumin seeds) sounded just heavenly: light, flavourful, crave-worthy. But it wasn’t. Well, it was light. Actually it was okay. Trouble is it promised so much, and we felt a bit let down. We were expecting wow and what we got was meh.

Perhaps we had built it up too much in our collective imaginations. I imagined it being made in an outdoor roadside cafe, with a cute Bangladeshi grandma at the karahi, and using bright, fresh ingredients plucked from a raucous, rickety market. I’m sure the versions one gets in Bangladesh are crave-worthy. I’m not doing down macher jhol. Just this unexpectedly lack-lustre version. So, after hot-footing it to get some fresh fish, and making it to the letter (none of the usual tinkering), we ended up stirring in tamarind paste, a pinch of sugar and some other culinary band-aids.

Anyway, the following day I salvaged the remains and doctored it up for my lunch. That was more like it. It wanted more fenugreek, coriander and cumin, as well as the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg. Those are the usual tandoori ingredients (along with a whack of artificial alarm-red food colour). I use an organic, additive-free spice mix from Steenberg’s, but it is easy to make your self. Try this recipe from food.com, but leave out the red colouring suggested, perhaps adding paprika instead. And just to say that the few images I have were quickly taken of the doctored version rather than the new and improved version. Not very pretty, but pretty tasty. You may see a few flakes of fish if you look hard enough.

Today’s recipe is completely different to macher jhol (and not even that it doesn’t have fish) – more a dry curry really, but it has the flavour punch that I think we were expecting. Not Bangladeshi, not macher jhol, but pretty good nonetheless. And it is super easy too. You don’t even have any onions to chop, just eye-friendly aubergines and potatoes.

I am popping this over to Laura at How To Cook Good Food and Nazima of Franglais Kitchen for their joint One Ingredient challenge, featuring chillies. Plenty of fiery recipes to choose from already, but still more time to pop over your own heat-tastic recipe. Thanks to them for this great round-up, as always!

Have you ever been disappointed by a chef’s cookbook recipe?tandoori lentil potato and eggplant hash

Tandoori Lentil, Potato and Aubergine Hash

This week in 2011: Warm Beetroot, Pepper and Lentil Salad;Leek and Potato Soup with Parsnip and Tarragon
This week in 2012: Green Tea, Lime and Passion Fruit Polenta Cake with Passion Fruit Curd;Pea and Coriander Dip

Miss R’s Track of the Week: Noah and the Whale – There Will Come A Time (just released)

Vegetarian Indian comfort food, without the ghee. I use urad dhal (split black lentils), but use any lentil that stays intact when cooked, such as the French Puy lentil. Just don’t use red lentils, or instead of hash you will get mash…

2 tbsp rapeseed oil
375g (13 oz) waxy salad potatoes – eg Charlotte – cut into 1 cm/half-inch slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 green chilli, deseeded and sliced (optional)
100g (2/3 cup) urad dal (split black lentils)
1 tbsp tandoori spice mix, homemade or bought (I use Steenberg’s)
1 tsp each coriander seeds, cumin seeds, paprika and ground ginger (or just use a bit more spice mix)
1 aubergine/eggplant, small dice
500ml water or light vegetable stock (low-sodium as tandoori spice usually has salt added)
heaped double handful of chopped chard or kale OR small bag of baby spinach

Yogurt, to serve

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over a medium flame; add the potato slices. Saute until lightly golden on each side, adding the garlic and chilli when you turn the potatoes over. Scoop the potatoes out of the pan (and the flavourings) and set aside.

Add the lentils to the remaining oil (adding in a little extra if the pan is dry), as well as the tandoori spice mix, seeds, ginger and aubergine. Toss around a little to coat and let fry for a minute or so before adding the water and the browned potatoes, chilli and garlic. Stir gently then cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the lentils just cooked.

Add the greens to the pan, cover and continue simmering for five minutes. Stir and serve with yogurt and lemon. Some oven-baked samosas wouldn’t go amiss either.

Variation: Add in white fish. Cut up a couple of fillets of skinned firm white fish, toss in turmeric and salt; fry in a little oil until just cooked. Set aside. Proceed with the potatoes as directed.

Serves 3-4 as main meal
Soft food diet-friendly tandoori lentils, potato and eggplant hash

split black lentils (urad dal)

split black lentils – urad dal

25 thoughts on “Tandoori Lentil, Potato and Eggplant (Aubergine) Hash

  1. Natalie Ward says:

    Believe it or not it is still cold and rainy here too. Not as bad as you have it of course but bad enough for me to want to eat this bonewarming dish right now! It ticks every box for me. Potatoes? check. Lentils? check. Maximum Indian spices? check. Greens? Oh yes it’s a winner!!! 😀

    1. Ah, thanks so much Natalie. It ain’t pretty though! In your hands it would be 😀 Sorry it is so cold your way.That is unexpected. I think many of us are caught up in this infernal high pressure system from Siberia. Hopefully, hopefully, warming trend soon. Or at least some brightness and reprieve from the snow. Lots of internally-warming kimchee? I am definitely going to make this. Need to get a proper jar first.

      On Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 3:56 PM, food to glow

  2. Natalie Ward says:

    Love the new look/theme by the way, really nice!

    1. Cheers, love. It’s not good for dyslexic though so may have to change again 😦

  3. lemoncake says:

    Is it wrong that I eat lentils most nights of the week :-S I always welcome a new recipe for lentil love! Is there anything I can replace the eggplant with though? That’s one veggie I just loathe!

    1. Just leave out the eggplant. Maybe add in zucchini: similar moisture thing going on. And yay, lentil love! Your innards are, I’m sure, very grateful. 😀

      1. lemoncake says:

        Zucchini – great idea, thank you!

      2. chriscax says:

        Second the zucchini

  4. Bonnie Lee says:

    Looks lovely….makes me wish I liked lentils even a tiny bit.

    1. That’s a shame about the lentils. They love you anyway(or your digestion at least)!

  5. It seems the weather here has broke and Spring has arrived. We hit the 60’s and green lawns, trees and flowers abound. I am eternally grateful b/c the grey skies and dreary rain were just becoming too much already. I hope the nice weather finds its way to you sooner than later. Great dish!

    1. Thanks Alyssa. Sun is out today and I am getting ready to make the most of it with a purposeful walk to the post office and shops.

  6. Have you heard of hashcapades? It’s only in Portland right now but I think they are trying to grow it – I bet they would love this recipe! I’ll share it with them. YUm!

    1. Thanks Skylor for the referral to Hashcapades – such a cute name! Not quite sure I qualify as a hash but it is chopped small so maybe. Next time I should smash it all down and fry in a crispy little lentilly, auberginey, potatoey cake. Drizzle with loads of sriracha!

  7. laura_howtocook says:

    You an never eat enough lentils in my book. I love Puy, red, brown, green. They are all great and so perfect for this cold weather. I love the flavours of all the spices you have used, so warming and perfect with the fresh taste of yoghurt at the end. haven’t had any recipes not working for ages from well known chef’s cookbooks but Inever like to try out a new recipe when having friends over to dinner as they always tend to go slightly wrong, more because I am distracted I think!
    Thanks for linking up to One Ingredient with this amazing dish. It’s great to have so many good savoury recipes this month 🙂

    1. Oh I never try out new recipes on unsuspecting visitors either. Unless I didn’t like them. Which would never happen! I look forward to the One Ingredient post with the roundup. Wonder how many sweet you’ll end up getting?

  8. eastofedencook says:

    We’ve been basking in afternoon sunshine with still chilly evenings and nights. Cold enough to crave a warming and hearty dinner at the end of the day. Pairing potatoes and eggplant is a favorite combination of mine, a tempting recipe!

    1. I love eggplant with anything. I think a lot of folk don’t like it, but it’s so mild that it must be the texture that is the objection. Off out now to walk in the sun while it is here. Thanks for dropping by Deb. Enjoy your fab-sounding spring weather!

  9. Looks good 🙂
    Thank you

  10. shuhan says:

    THIS LOOKS AMAZING! I would really love this esp with the weather getting so crazily cold here in london! Perfect spicy comfort food.

    1. The weather is so bonkers, isn’t it. We had snow overnight – again. Bright sun is melting it as I write, and not windy, so it looks like it is going to be a beautiful day! Still need spicy comfort food though…

  11. thespicyrd says:

    Gorgeous dish Kellie. My tummy is grumbling now!!! So sorry to hear about your two winters 😦 We are enjoying some lovely spring weather right now. Not too hot…not too cold….Wish I could send some you way! Another great recipe to add to my pinterest boards!!

    1. Thanks so much, EA. And for the kind tweet also. I am so rubbish at social media! Thanks for doing my promotion for me ;D PS Can’t wait for your ‘big reveal’!

  12. I have this fear of tandoori. As a child my Mom put in tbsp of the tandoori mix when it called for tsp. I have been scarred ever since… but loaded with veggies like this, I am tempted to give it another go. I hate it when recipes are subpar but way to go on doctoring it up. I had a recent ho-hum dish but it turned out much better as leftovers, thank goodness. 🙂

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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