This fiery dish is not for the faint-hearted! You can substitute black-eye beans for the lentils. Serve with plain steamed rice or bread, accompanied by creamed yams, fried plantains, or cornmeal pudding. Serves 6.
2 tablespoons groundnut or corn oil
25g/ 1 oz butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 red birdseye chillies, chopped
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or hot red chilli powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
8 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
4 oz brown or green lentils, washed
2 litres unsalted vegetable stock
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
125g/ 5 oz spring greens or other greens, shredded
Salt and pepper
2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and quartered lengthways
2 unwaxed lemons, quartered lengthways
1. Heat the oil and butter together in a large, heavy saucepan, and cook the onions and garlic until soft but not browned.
2. Add the chillies and the dry spices, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the spices give off their aroma. Take care not to burn the spices, or they will taste bitter.
3. Add the tomatoes, lentils and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Make sure the stock is unsalted, or the lentils won’t cook easily.
4. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until the lentils have cooked.
5. Add the potatoes and carrots, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the greens and the seasoning, and cook with the lid on for a further 10 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.
6. Garnish with egg and lemon wedges, and hand around extra chillies for those who are feeling brave.