4 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
2 onions, thinly sliced
750g or 1kg lamb (leg, rump or shoulder), cut into bite-sized pieces
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 red chillies, deseeded and sliced
2.5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
Half tbsp ground cumin
1.5 tbsp garam masala
0.5 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground turmeric
8 green cardamom pods
1 tsp ground cloves
1l chicken or vegetable broth
400ml can coconut milk
200g red or green lentils
Squeeze of lemon juice
500g baby spinach leaves
1 handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
100g flaked almonds, toasted with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE RAITA
Bunch of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
200g plain yogurt
Half cucumber, grated
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan and add the onions and lamb. Cook over a medium–high heat until the lamb is sealed and turning an even brown. Add the garlic, chilli, ginger and all the dried spices. Cook over a medium heat for 2 more mins, until the lamb has absorbed all the spices.
- Add the broth (stock), coconut milk and passata. Cover the pan and cook very gently for 40–50 mins, until the lamb is almost tender. Stir in the lentils and continue cooking over a low heat for a further 15 mins, until the soup is thickened and the lentils are cooked. Season with salt and pepper, and add a little more chilli powder if you would like more heat. Finally, lift the flavour with a little lemon juice.
- To make the raita, stir together the mint, yogurt and cucumber.
- Just before serving, gently stir the baby spinach leaves into the soup to wilt them, then ladle the piping hot soup into large bowls. Sprinkle with the coriander leaves and almonds, and serve with the raita on the side (or swirl a little into the soup, if you prefer).
Nourish Your Brain Cookbook by Rika K. Keck, published by CICO Books