Have you recently started following a vegetarian diet? Does it become challenging/boring for you to eat plant based diet all the time?

Well, I’m asking these questions because recently a follower made these complaints and asked for my help. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a vegetarian but I consciously try to eat plant based diet at least five days a week.

Yes, it can be difficult if you limit yourself to a certain cuisine or fewer choices. Luckily, nature has provided such variety and abundance that it’s nearly impossible to feel restricted if you are open to trying new cuisines.

Our South Asian cuisine, for example, has a treasure of vegetarian recipes with bold flavours. The variety of lentils and vegetable dishes is astounding. Good old “dal chawal” or “Dhaal baht” (rice and lentils) is a staple meal in millions of homes in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

There are so many different lentils and then every region has a different recipe for cooking lentils. Some prefer the Patli dal , the one with soupy and creamy texture, others go for bhuni dal the fried kind, topped with caramelized onions. Some recipes even combine lentils and vegetables for more flavour and more rounded off nutrition.

As in this easy to cook Lentil Potato Curry, I add potato cubes to the spicy lentils to soak up the wonderful flavours from tomato gravy and spices. Also they make the curry more filling and I can enjoy it as a complete meal without any rice or roti on the side.

Now you can create this duo with any of the available lentils and vegetables in your region. Here I have used Bengal gram/chana dal but you can also try yellow mung or red lentils instead. And potatoes can be replaced with sweet potatoes, pumpkin or butternut squash.
Cooking time for mung and red lentils shall be slightly less than chana dal.

So spice up your weekday meal with this ever-so-easy Lentil Potato Curry in vegetarian style. It’s high in fibre and low in calories from fat.

2 tablespoons ghee, olive or coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt to taste
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
1+1/2 cups Bengal gram, yellow mung or red lentils (chana, mung or masoor dal)
4 tomatoes diced (almost 2+1/2 cups)
2 potatoes diced
Fresh coriander and green chilli peppers for garnish.

This Is What You Do:
Heat oil in a deep pan on medium low heat.

Add fenugreek, mustard, cumin and red chilli flakes.

Fry briefly till the seeds begin to splitter. Don’t burn!

Add ginger-garlic paste and a splash of water. Add turmeric and coriander powder. Fry another few seconds.

Add lentils, tomatoes, salt and 2+1/2 cups water. Cover the pan and cook on simmer for 25-30 minutes.

Add potatoes and continue to simmer another 10-15 minutes or till the potatoes are done.

Garnish with fresh coriander, green chilli peppers and julienned ginger.

Serve with rice or roti OR enjoy on its own with a dollop of yogurt.

Serves 4

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