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Potato and lentil curry with cucumber relish

Potato and lentil curry with cucumber relish

I am a passionate lover o curries but they must be prepared from spices and be reasonably authentic for me to want to devour them. Here I have taken the spices of Kashmire and simmered them slowly with waxy potatoes and Australian red lentils (available from specialist food stores). The finished result is redolent of curries I have enjoyed in India. I have added a sweet/sour relish to refresh and cool the palate.


  • 2 tablespoons tamarind
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon each turmeric, salt, ground ginger, chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoons quality paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 whole cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup red or brown lentils
  • 1 kilogram waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • chopped fresh coriander, to taste

Cucumber relish

  • 1 tablespoon tamarind
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ long cucumber, halved
  • ½ small pawpaw
  • 1 red or green chilli, deseeded and sliced
  • grated rind 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar or grated palm sugar


  1. Rub the tamarind and water together until it forms a muddy pulp. Strain and reserve the thick liquid.
  2. Mix together the turmeric, salt, ground ginger, chilli powder, paprika and fennel seeds and grind in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder until the fennel seeds are finely ground.
  3. Cook the onion in a deep, lidded frying pan in 3-4 tablespoons oil until lightly brown. Add the ground spices, cardamom and cinnamon and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the stock and lentils. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
  5. Add the potatoes. Cover and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Remove the whole spices if wished. Toss in plenty of chopped fresh coriander and season with salt if needed. Serve with yoghurt, poppadums and the Fresh Cucumber Relish.

Fresh cucumber relish

  1. Knead the tamarind and water together until a murky liquid is formed. Strain and reserve the liquid.
  2. Scoop out the seeds from the cucumber and pawpaw. Finely dice the flesh of both.
  3. Mix cucumber and pawpaw with the tamarind water, chilli, lime rind and brown sugar. Stand for 30 minutes before serving.

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