It’s no good, I need to do something to curb my appetite, writing this food blog is doing no favours for my waistline and my gym days are few and far between so I’m joining the bandwagon that is the Fast Diet. And, why not? I’ve tried every diet from Atkins to Zone, so why not give one with at least a medical argument to make, a try. I’ve watched the Horizon programme, I’ve read the book and now I’m looking to eat normally for 5 days each week and curb my intake for 2. The Fast Diet recipe book has a lot of inspiration and it’s clear no-one will ever go hungry on this diet, and there’s not really a great deal I couldn’t or wouldn’t eat. Lentils have never really been a stock-cupboard staple of mine but having bought a large bag of red pulses this better be more than a passing fancy. I decide to make the Red Lentil Tikka Masala with Rye Barley Roti and I’m not disappointed.
The recipe is enough for 4, has 218 calories without the roti or 386 with.
So, you begin by making your own masala paste which is relatively easy if you have the spices in the cupboard which I do. Failing that Patak’s do a great range of pastes and used in small amounts aren’t too calorific, although that said, there’s nothing quite like making your own.
Ingredients for Masala Paste
2 tsps garam masala
2 tsps chilli flakes
2 tsps smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin seeds, dry-fried and ground
1 tsp coriander seed, dry-fried and ground
2cm root ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp groundnut oil
2 tbsps tomato purée
salt and pepper
handful of fresh coriander
Ingredients for Curry
1½ tsps groundnut oil
1 red onion, diced
2 tbsps of the masala paste you’ve just made
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
250ml vegetable stock
200g red lentils
4 generous handfuls of young spinach leaves washed (200g)
2 tbsps low-fat natural yoghurt
Pulse the paste ingredients in a processor until well combined and fairly smooth – I’ve got a Bamix so used that but a pestle and mortar would just as easily do the job. Don’t forget to dry-fry the coriander and cumin seeds until they become oily and begin to release their scent. Crush in P&M and add oil, garam masala, chilli, grated ginger, tomato puree and salt and pepper and chopped coriander. If you’ve got a processor, all the ingredients go in together.
Now you’re on to the curry. Spray the pan and add the onion, cooking on a medium heat until it has softened, usually about 4 or 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Then the masala paste and stir in to release all the flavours. Add the tomatoes then the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Tip in the rinsed lentils, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes – add small amounts of water if the lentils aren’t cooked and begin to dry of liquid.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add the spinach leaves, allowing to wilt in the heat.
Ingredients for the Rye Barley Roti
Mix ingredients to a smooth dough and rest for 20 minutes. Knead well for about ten minutes and divide into 8 balls. Roll each ball into a disc on a floured surface to prevent sticking. Spray a heavy frying pan (I used a crepe pan) with the smallest amount of oil and heat the rotis on each side until cooked through.
Serve with a dollop of yoghurt and a warm rye, barley roti.