Sweet potato and lentil curry with roasted spiced chickpeas

Sweet potato and lentil curry topped with crispy chickpeas and yoghurt.
Sweet potato and lentil curry topped with crispy chickpeas and yoghurt. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Dietary
Vegetarian

It doesn't get much easier in the comforting curry stakes than this number. Throw it in, let it simmer and dinner is done. I have made this with and without the toasted chickpeas if your motivation and cupboard staples are at an all-time low. They are great in terms of crunch, but you could easily replace with pepitas, sunflower seeds or some nuts.

Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil

1 brown onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

5cm piece ginger, finely chopped

1 tbsp excellent quality curry powder

2 heaped tsp garam masala

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1kg), peeled then cut into largish bite-sized chunks

pinch chilli flakes (optional)

700ml vegetable or chicken stock or a mix of both (I used 500ml vegetable stock plus 200ml chicken stock)

400g can chopped tomatoes

¾ cup red lentils

400ml can coconut milk

Roasted chickpeas

½ tin of chickpeas, rinsed thoroughly

½ tbsp olive oil

1 tsp garam masala

To serve

coconut yoghurt (or natural Greek yoghurt)

1-2 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves

2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

steamed rice

roti bread (optional)

Method

1. Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and once hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger, then turn the heat to low. Simmer over this low heat until the onion is translucent and soft, then add the curry powder and garam masala. Stir to coat then add the sweet potato pieces and the chilli flakes, if using. Stir to coat then pour over the stock and the tomatoes simmer for 20 minutes or until the sweet potato is just soft.

2. Taste and check for seasoning. Add the lentils, stirring to combine, then add the coconut milk. Bring the mixture up to the boil then turn to low and simmer gently for 25 minutes until the lentils are soft but still holding their shape.

3. While the curry is simmering, heat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

4. Combine the chickpeas, olive oil and garam masala in a bowl then spread the chickpeas across the tray. Pop in the oven and roast until the chickpeas have dried out and started to harden and crisp at the edges. I have found this time to vary between 8 and 20 minutes – it depends on the brand of chickpeas and the type of oven.

5. Scoop the curry into bowls. Top with a dollop of coconut yoghurt and gently push some spinach leaves into the sauce (they will soften in the heat). Scatter over the toasted chickpeas and the chopped coriander. Season and serve with rice and roti, if you have it.