Red Lentil & Chickpea Curry with Crispy Tofu & Kale

Let me just preface this post by saying that while I love a good curry as much as the next person, I rarely cook them at home because, well because I live in a small apartment and getting rid of the smell the next day can be quite a task! And for a self-confessed clean freak such as myself, this is cause for some serious anxiety. There’s no way I’ll be having guests over for at least a week after cooking this.

That said, how good is curry? So good.

I have to admit this ‘recipe’ was a total fluke — I quite literally made it up as I went along as I wasn’t planning on blogging, but it proved to be just too damn delicious to keep to myself. And really, what was I thinking? How selfish of me.

Now, you might be thinking, “but Peet, where are the carbs?” Not here, that’s where. Sure, normally I would serve a curry with bread or rice, but this time I opted for a low-carb option (given that my once-slim summer waistline is now resembling a wintery amorphous blob) and bulked it up with some crispy baked tofu. WHAT A REVELATION. I’m never eating rice again.

Waistlines aside, you’re going to have to bear with me on this one, OK? Given that I didn’t measure anything the ‘recipe’ that follows is me taking a stab at remembering quantities, so you’ll need to use a bit of intuition when you make this for yourself; adjusting spices / seasoning to suit your tastes. Also, don’t freak out at the list of ingredients — yes, it’s long, but I’m pretty sure you’ll have most of this stuff hanging out in your pantry already.


Right, here goes. You’ll need:

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large shallot (or 2 small), finely chopped
1Β½ cups dry red lentils, rinsed
1 can (400g) chickpeas, rinsed
1 can (400ml) lite coconut milk
3 cups water
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tbsp tomato paste
2-3 handfuls chopped kale
300g firm tofu, cut into bite-size cubes
Curry powder
Ground turmeric
Ground cumin
Ground chilli
Grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
Juice of half a lemon (or whole if not super juicy)

For garnish:

Black sesame seeds
Fresh coriander leaves


Pre-heat the oven to 180Β°C.

Place the cubed tofu into a bowl and sprinkle with curry powder, cumin, chilli, turmeric, salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of grapeseed oil and toss until the tofu is well coated. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper and set aside.

To make the curry, heat a tablespoon of oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and sautΓ© the shallot until soft. Add garlic, lentils, and spices, and get stirring so the lentils don’t stick to the pan. For the spice mix you’ll need about 1 heaped tablespoon of curry powder, and a heaped teaspoon each of cumin and turmeric. I also added about 3 good shakes of ground chilli, which I’m guessing is roughly equivalent to a level teaspoon. I feel like more is better in this instance, so don’t stinge out.

Once the lentils are coated, add the water, coconut milk, tomato paste, and stock cube. Bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper, and give it a good stir. Reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered and stirring regularly, for 20-30 minutes or until the lentils are soft and creamy.

While the curry is cooking away, pop the tofu in the oven to crisp up. Bake for around 15 minutes or until golden, turning once.

To finish off the curry, stir through the chickpeas and kale, then remove from the heat. Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

To serve, spoon into bowls and top each with a pile of crispy tofu, and sprinkle with black sesame seeds and coriander leaves.

Makes enough for 4 side dishes, or 2 generous mains.


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