This lovely seasonal curry has a tangy, tamarind-like taste. It's nice on its own or else try serving with Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry, as the slightly sweet flavours of one contrast very nicely with the rhubarb in the other dish.
Rhubarb is a vegetable not a fruit but even so, I hesitated. So if - like me - you are always sceptical about 'weird' ingredients in curries do keep an open mind. We had a glut of rhubarb at home, a friend had recommended using it in a curry so I thought I'd give it a go, albeit with a less than confident mindset! It met with a big thumbs up all round - result!
Stage 1: Vegetables 350g/12oz rhubarb, washed and cut into 2cm/1 inch chunks 3 onions, chopped or sliced fine 1 stick celery, chopped 2 medium-large peppers, chopped into chunks - red, yellow or orange 1 tbsp plain vegetable oil for cooking
Stage 2: Spice mixture 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped or crushed 50g ginger, peeled and chopped roughly or grated (about two big thumb-sized pieces 1 tsp coriander seeds 1 tsp cumin seeds Pinch chilli flakes or ¼ tsp chilli powder ½ tsp turmeric 2 tsp paprika ½ tsp salt
Stage 3: Lentils and stock 150g/5oz puy or whole brown lentils 700ml vegan stock
Stage 4: Final flavourings 250g/9oz cooked white potato, diced in medium chunks 2 tbsp of dark brown sugar Salt and black pepper
To serve Brown or white basmati rice Plain vegan yoghurt - a thick coconut-based vegan yoghurt would be particularly nie Chopped fresh coriander or parsley
ALL KITTED OUT Chopping board and knife; measuring spoons; electric or hand spice grinder or similar (a pestle and mortar does the trick but takes longer); Large saucepan for curry; medium-large for the rice if cooking from scratch - or a microwave dish if reheating precooked rice; sieve to wash lentils (and rice from scratch if necessary); wooden or silicone spoon; vegetable peeler plus medium-small pan or steamer for potatoes if cooking from scratch
Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil. When it is hot, add the chopped onion and cook on a low heat until the onions have started to caramelise. Now add the celery and peppers. Sauté (lightly fry) everything for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add a splash of water if it starts to stick.
Meanwhile, use an electric or hand-operated spice grinder to make the spice mixture. Blitz until it forms a paste. Add it to the pan and stir in.
Add the rhubarb, lentils and stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If you don't have pre-cooked potatoes, boil or steam them now.
Put brown rice on now if using. Taste to see if the lentils are tender and if not, continue cooking them for another 10-15 minutes. If using white rice, get it cooking now (boil for 11 minutes). Alternatively, use pre-cooked rice (home-made or use two pouches for 4 people).
When the lentils are tender, add the cooked potatoes and stir in. Add the sugar and taste. Add more salt if necessary plus some black pepper.
Dish out the hot rice, sprinkle the herbs on the curry and serve everthing with the yoghurt on the side.