Aubergine Sambhar


200gred lentils
2 tbsprapeseed oil
¼ tspfenugreek seeds
2 tspcoriander seeds/ground
1½ tspcumin seeds
¾ tspmustard seeds
12-15fresh curry leaves/1 ½ Tbsp dry
4banana shallots, finely sliced
250gbutternut squash, chopped into 3cm cubes
1medium aubergine (300g), chopped into 3cm cubes
4medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
1¾ tspsalt
1½ tspsugar
2 tsptamarind paste
1½ tspchilli powder
200ggreen beans, trimmed


Wash the lentils with cold water until the water runs clear, then put into a deep saucepan, cover with three times the amount of water and bring to the boil. Cook as directed on the packet or until soft, scooping off any foam.

Meanwhile, put 1 tablespoon of oil into a wide lidded frying pan and add the fenugreek, coriander, cumin, mustard and curry leaves. Stir-fry for a minute.

Put the remaining oil into the frying pan over a medium to high heat.

When hot the shallots, and cook for around 10 minutes, until the shallots are golden. Then add the diced squash and a couple of tablespoons of water, cover with the lid and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the aubergine and another couple of tablespoons of water, cover and cook for another 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes, along with the spices you ground earlier, the salt, sugar, tamarind paste and chilli powder. Cover again and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken down and the squash is tender. Add the lentils to the vegetables (or the other way around, depending on which pan is bigger), then add the green beans and just enough water to make a very thick, soupy texture, and cook for a final 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt, sugar and tamarind as you wish.

Divide the sambhar into bowls, spoon over some yoghurt, and serve with rice.