Aubergine and Split Pea Dhansak

Serves 4

About this recipe

Dhansak is a traditional Indian dish combining elements of Persian and Gujarati cuisine and normally uses some kind of meat, most commonly, goat. However, this recipe uses aubergine as a substitute to add texture, flavour and also up the fibre content.

Homemade curries can be really simple and are a great way of packing in lots of different nutrients and creating a well-balanced meal. The sauce is a base of split peas and tomatoes, providing protein, carbohydrate, fibre and a couple more portions of veg.

By serving the lentil-based curry with a type of grain such as brown rice, you are getting two different sources of plant based protein in order to provide all the essential amino acids.

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  • 100g Split peas (or red lentils)
  • 1 Tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Tins of water
  • 4 Cloves of garlic
  • 1 Thumb sized piece of ginger
  • 1 Tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 Vegetable stock cube
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala
  • 2 Tsp ground coriander
  • 2 Medium aubergines, cut into roughly 3cm chunks
  • 2 Large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 Large handful of fresh coriander
  • Salt and pepper
  • Serve with your choice of rice, bread or grains.

Begin by cooking the split peas by adding them to a medium sized saucepan along with the chopped tomatoes, then use the empty tin to measure out two tin-fulls of water and add to the pan with the garlic, ginger, turmeric, stock cube and plenty of salt and pepper.

Bring to simmer on medium-high heat, covering with the pan lid, and cook for 20-30 minutes until the lentils or peas are tender. Stir occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn’t catch on the bottom.

Meanwhile, place a large pan on medium heat and add the oil. Chop up your aubergine and add to the oil along with your spices and some seasoning. Cook down for around 10 minutes until the aubergine is nice and golden on the outside and soft in the middle.

Once the split peas have cooked and the liquid has significantly reduced to create a thick, tomatoey sauce, pour into the aubergine mixture, along with the baby spinach leaves and stir well. Allow the mixture to cook down for another 5-10 minutes to ensure everything is cooked through and to allow the flavours to combine. Taste for seasoning, adding a little more salt and pepper if necessary.

Finish with lots of roughly chopped fresh coriander and serve with your choice of grains or bread.

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