- 2 tbsp Ghee or rice bran oil
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
- 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 1/2 stick cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cumin seed
- 1 1/2 tsp ground spice mix (see below)
- 1 cup red split lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch of saffron
- 1/2 black beluga lentils or du pay lentils
- 1 big handful baby spinach leaves
- Salt to taste
- Coriander leaves (optional)
Roughly chop onion, garlic & ginger and process to a paste with 1 tablespoon of water in a food processor.
Heat the ghee or rice bran oil in a pot. When hot place cinnamon stick, cumin seeds and mustard seeds into oil and stir until the seeds begin to "pop". Quickly add the onion mixture and stir. Add the ground spice mixture and stir frequently until the onion goes glossy and creamy in colour. Do not burn the onion, ideally the oil should begin to separate from the spicy onion mixture.
Add the red lentils with 4 cups of water, bay leaf and saffron to the mixture and bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally.
While this is cooking bring the black beluga lentils to the boil in 2 cups water and simmer slowly until cooked, (about 20 minutes).
When both lots of lentils are cooked, add the black lentils to the red split lentils with the fresh spinach.
Season with salt to taste and serve with coriander garnish if desired.
GROUND SPICE MIX
In a spice grinder or pestle and mortar grind the following:-
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp crushed chilli
1/2 tsp white pepper
When ground to a fine powder add 1 tsp ground turmeric.
Store mixture in an airtight jar for use in curries. Yum!
Ghee or rice bran oil are both very stable at high temperatures, which is ideal when extracting the flavour from whole spices. I like to leave these whole spices in the soup - they are the gift that keeps on giving! It's like finding the sixpence in the pudding if you get one in your bowl!
Your spice mixture can be your own very special thing!
Experiment with cardamom, fenugreek, or star anise!!
Only make enough for a few weeks. Spices are best ground fresh, especially coriander seed and cardamom.