This one’s for @epicuric, who challenged me to invent a lentil recipe he might like! A Balti is really a kind of curry made famous in the ‘curry triangle’ in Birmingham. Beluga lentils are so called because they resemble caviar. You could substitute other lentils as long as they are the type that hold their shape, but I just love the dark, devilish look of this curry with the glossy black aubergine skins and the black lentils!
I know lamb is expensive in some countries – you could use another type of meat adjusting the cooking time as required. I also think this dish would work well as a vegetarian meal if the meat was simply left out. Serves 2.
- 400g lamb neck fillet cut into large chunks
- 1 aubergine (eggplant)
- 125g cooked Beluga lentils (1/2 a Merchant Gourmet pack)
- 1 heaped Tbsp Balti spice mix (see Recipe Balti Spice Mix)
- 1/2 large onion chopped
- 1 Tbsp tomato puree
- 1 Tbsp minced or crushed garlic
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 whole Scotch Bonnet chilli (optional) pierced with a sharp knife.
- Fresh coriander and plain yoghurt to serve.
- Heat the oven to 180C.
- Chop the aubergine into small chunks and place on a non-stick oven tray. Drizzle over 1 Tbsp oil and toss the aubergine until coated.
- Bake aubergine in the oven for 20-25 mins until softened and slightly crispy.
- Gently fry the chopped onion in the oil or ghee until it is softened.
- Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a few more minutes, adding a little water if necessary
- Stir in the Balti spice mix and cook gently for five minutes adding water as required to produce a thick sauce.
- Stir in the tomato puree.
- Taste the sauce and add salt as required.
- Mix the lamb into the sauce, heat through, then turn down the heat. At this stage add the whole Scotch Bonnet (if using) and leave to simmer for 45 minutes or until the lamb is just tender.
- Add aubergine pieces and cooked lentils and stir though to heat.
- Decorate with coriander and serve with naan bread or rice, plain yoghurt and pickles of your choice.
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