Bengali Lentil Curry with Aubergine Salad

For a richly spiced and flavourful vegetarian meal try Simon Rimmer's Indian lentil curry served with a griddled aubergine salad
By Simon Rimmer
Bengali Lentil Curry with Aubergine Salad
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • 250 g Puy lentils
  • 6 green chillies
  • a pinch of turmeric
  • salt
  • 2 and a half tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 225 g tomatoes
  • 25mm ginger, piece
  • 15 g panchphoran, a Bengali 5 spice mixture of cumin seeds, fenugreek, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and Indian black onion seeds
  • 4 small red chillies
  • 3 clove garlic, crushed

Aubergine salad

  • 2 aubergines, cut into wedges
  • black pepper
  • 125 ml vegetable oil
  • 25 g cumin seeds
  • 15 g dried red chilli flakes
  • 25mm piece ginger, chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, chopped
  • 150 ml rice vinegar, or Mirin
  • 15 g mustard seeds
  • 50 g tamarind paste
  • 100 g sugar
  • sprigs coriander, to garnish
  • plain yogurt


1. First cook the lentil curry. In a large saucepan place the lentils, green chillies and turmeric. Add plenty of water and season with salt.

2. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, partly cover the pan and cook the lentils over medium heat for 25 minutes, stirring often, until tender; drain.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan. Gently fry the onion until golden-brown, around 10 minutes.

4. Add the tomatoes and ginger and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring now and then.

5. Stir in the cooked lentils.

6. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in a small frying pan until smoking. Add the panchphoran and fry, stirring.

7. Once the mustard seeds begin to pop add the red chillies. Remove from the heat and mix in the garlic. Pour at once over the lentil curry and serve.

8. While the lentils are simmering prepare the aubergine salad. Season the aubergines with salt and toss with 50ml of vegetable oil.

9. Heat a griddle pan until very hot and griddle the aubergine wedges for 3-4 minutes on each side. Set aside.

10. In a food processor blend together the cumin, chilli, ginger, garlic and 30ml of rice vinegar into a paste.

11. Heat a frying pan until hot. Add the mustard seeds and dry-fry them, stirring often, until they pop. Stir in the dry-fried mustard seeds into the vinegar paste.

12. Mix in the tamarind, 75ml oil, remaining vinegar and sugar, blending well.

13. Pour the tamarind mixture over the aubergines and garnish with coriander sprigs and a drizzle of plain yogurt.

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