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Best Vegetarian Recipes: Delia’s Egg and Lentil Curry with coconut and pickled lime

Egg and lentil curryWe have finally decided to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our weekly repertoire.
“I’m happy not to eat meat twice a week,” Danny glanced over the newspaper. “If the meal is delicious. And I don’t have to wear opened toed sandals in Winter.”

Ahh! There’s the rub. How could I produce great vegetarian meals with no experience? In an effort to fast track this and avoid turning D off the idea forever, I mentioned in a post last week that we needed recommendations for great vegetarian food.

We were delighted with all the suggestions from the people who left comments and have also received emails pointing to good recipes and sharing recipes that have been developed and tweaked for years.

Clare’s comment was tantalising. “There’s a Delia recipe for egg and lentil curry which is sublime – coconutty and limey and beautiful. Like you, I’m trying to gradually train my veg-dodging alpha-carnivore partner to accept meatless meals and he loves this one.”

This recipe sounded perfect. When Danny spotted that it had even been rubber stamped by an alpha-carnivore he was enthusiastic.

Delia calls it a favourite store cupboard recipe. My store cupboard must be a different sort of animal to Delia’s. For a start we didn’t have lentils or creamed coconut. The latter perplexed us.
“It comes in a packet.”
“Do you think that’s a sort of desiccated coconut?”
Danny has a horror of desiccated coconut
“Of course not.” Secretly I wasn’t so sure.

I didn’t mention the lime pickle, Danny hates this. We actually had that ingredient so it didn’t need to go on the list (D was doing the shopping). We have let our store cupboard run so low recently that even the Basmati rice had to be bought.

On Saturday night I made Delia’s recipe.

I started cooking when we were hungry. A bit of a mistake as it took me a good 20 minutes just to locate the spices and prepare the ingredients. It is years since I made vegetarian food. I had forgotten that there is a slower pace to preparation and cooking times. As the lentils simmered on the hob I realised that this was going to be a wonderful meal.

Finally at 10 o’clock everything was ready and I called through the bathroom ceiling (the Rat Room is above the bathroom and it saves climbing the stairs). There was no responsive chirrup from above so I went upstairs to investigate. Danny was fast asleep in bed.

cucumber side dish.jpgI feasted alone. The egg and lentil curry on a bed of Basmati rice was everything that was promised and more. I had made a simple cucumber and crème fraiche side dish which was a perfect foil for the spicy curry. With a couple of real Indian poppadoms (from the Newnham Post Office in Cambridge) it was a perfect meal.

Danny woke at five. Ravenous. He stumbled into the kitchen and lifted the lid of the sauté pan. By the time I woke at eight he had eaten most of the curry, cold and straight from the pan.

I heard the clink as he set my mug of tea beside the bed and snuggled under the warmth of the duvet.
“By the way, that curry was superb.”
“You ate it cold?”
I wanted to hear all about it but he’d drifted off to sleep again.

Thanks Clare. The recipe is a winner.


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5 Comments

  1. So glad you both enjoyed it!!
    I must confess to omitting the lime pickle as it’s not something I like (or buy) so I replace it with zest and juice of a lime.

    I think I may have to cook this again soon, looking at your photos is giving me cravings!!

    Here’s to more tempting vegetarian dishes!

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Clare,

    It was very good indeed. The lime pickle isn’t discernable as lime pickle just added to the overall zing.

    Thanks again.

  3. I’m going to try this for sure. Love cold leftover curry!

  4. The only thing as good as fresh hot curry is cold curry the next morning!

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Amanda,

    It is great but it needed the cucumber (or any other cool tasting dish) to balance the richness of the curried lentils. Great cold too.

    Hi Kate(uk),

    Danny would agree wholeheartedly. I have to wait until lunchtime before I could eat cold curry.

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