This is almost a meal in itself, nutritionally complete if you add some whole-grain pita bread (or rice) and yogurt on the side. You could also convert it into a soup by adding a mugful of water or stock toward the end of the cooking time.

    SERVES 4–6

    • 1⅓ cups green lentils
    • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
    • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 4 oz. green beans cut into ¾ inch segments
    • 3 oz. kale, thick stems and veins discarded, finely chopped
    • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into ¼ inch rounds
    • 1¼ teaspoons salt


    • 1 teaspoon peeled and finely grated ginger
    • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
    • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
    • 3 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil
    • ¼ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
    • 1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped shallots
    • 2 tablespoons tomato puree

    1. Put the lentils, turmeric, and 2 pints of water into a medium pan and bring to a boil. Cover partially, and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add the cayenne, beans, kale, cilantro, carrots, and salt. Stir and bring to a boil again. Cover partially, and cook gently for another 20 minutes.

    2. Meanwhile, make the curry paste: combine the ginger, garlic, ground cumin, and coriander in a small bowl, then mix in 2 fl oz of water.

    3. Pour the oil into a medium-sized frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, add the whole cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for 5 seconds, then add the shallots. Stir and fry until lightly browned. Add the curry paste and fry until you can see the oil along the edges, about 1½ minutes. Add the tomato puree and fry for about another minute, until you see the oil along the edges.

    4. When the lentils have finished cooking, add the contents of the frying pan. Stir and cook gently for another 5 minutes.