You may automatically assume that eating on a budget means compromising on taste and nutrients. Not so! Some of the cheapest foods can be classed as ‘superfoods’; apples, squash, tinned fish, oats, cabbage, lentils and chickpeas, for instance. Here’s an incredibly flavoursome recipe to help you fuel smart on the cheap ….
Lentils are a great source of sustaining carbohydrate, protein, fibre, iron, zinc and potassium and B vitamins. This is a batch recipe, so you can store the leftovers in the fridge for several days for your lunchbox and warming suppers. Enjoy!
- 300g channa dhal (yellow lentils or split peas)
- 2 cm lump fresh ginger, peeled
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed
- 1 litre water
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 1 dried red chilli, crushed
- 1 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 100g baby spinach
- For the tarka:
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 shallot, peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
- 2 fresh green chillis, finely sliced
- Wash the lentils, soak for 30 minutes, then drain.
- Transfer to a large saucepan, add the water and bring to the boil. Remove any froth that forms on the top with a spoon. Reduce the heat, add the butternut squash, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon stick and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft and creamy. Remove the piece of ginger and the cloves.
- Stir in a good teaspoon of salt, plenty of black pepper and the spinach leaves.
- Now the tarka: Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add the cumin seeds and black mustard seeds. When the seeds start to sizzle, reduce the heat, and sauté the shallot until soft. Add the garlic and sauté until browned (but not burnt!).
- Swirl the tarka into the lentils. Taste for seasoning as you might need more salt. Serve in bowls, sprinkle over the green chilli. Eat with basmati rice, or a chapatti.