Meatless meals don’t have to be terribly complicated. Sometimes all that’s necessary is to open a jar and chop a few veggies. Such is the case with curried lentils. Chopped onions, carrots and tomatoes are added to a some prepared lentils and seasoned tomato gravy. Serve the lentils with an easy to make roti for a satisfying vegan meal.
Rotis are a type of unleavened flat bread also known as chapatis. They are cooked on top of the stove with minimal effort. I’ll describe the process in the recipe below, but you’ll find a video at Manjula’s Kitchen which may be helpful.
In order to make this meal efficiently make the dough for the rotis first, then chop the vegetables and rinse the lentils while the dough rests.
It’s easiest to use prepared lentils for this recipe. I chopped the vegetables and sauteed them, then added the lentils along with some tomato paste and curry powder and a little cayenne pepper for heat.
If you have whole wheat flour use it to make the rotis, otherwise all purpose flour can be used. The recipe makes four 6 inch rotis and can easily be doubled. Rotis, like other flatbreads are fun to cook on the stove. They will puff as they cook. The hot air inside the puffs helps to cook the roti from the inside. Manjula brushes her rotis with ghee (clarified butter) after cooking them, but I used olive oil in order to keep the meal vegan. Use the cooked rotis as a wrap for the lentils if you like. I prefer to dip them into the gravy.
- 1 cups prepared lentils, rinsed and drained if canned
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 - 2 tablespoons curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 very generous tablespoons tomato paste
- olive oil for sauteing
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ cup water
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Additional flour for rolling
- olive oil for cooking
- Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Add most of the water and mix until a ball forms. If needed add the rest of the water.
- Knead briefly until the dough become smooth. Use a little oil to prevent sticking.
- Cover with a towel and let rest for at least 10 minutes.
- Saute the onions and garlic in a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add the carrots and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
- Reduce heat and continue to cook until the carrots have softened. Add a little water if needed to prevent sticking.
- Add the lentils, tomato paste, curry powder and cayenne along with enough water to make a sauce (try a cup and add more if you need to).
- Let the lentils simmer while cooking the roti.
- Divide the dough into four equal parts and form into balls.
- Brust the bottom of a 10" skillet with olive oil and bring to temperature over high heat. A few drops of water should sizzle when added to the pan.
- While the pan heats, roll out the first ball into a 6" circle. Use flour as necessary to prevent sticking.
- Place the roti in the pan and allow to cook until the edges pull away from the pan and lightly browned on the bottom. This will take a minute or two. Roll the next roti while you're waiting.
- Flip the roti. It will begin to get puffy. Use a spatula to press lightly on the roti and turn it in the pan.
- When nicely browned on both sides, remove the roti and brush it with a little olive oil. Cover the cooked rotis with a towel to keep them warm.
- Repeat until all four rotis are cooked.
- Serve with the lentils.
Curried lentils could also be served over rice for a more substantial meal. Leftover lentils can be stored in the fridge for several days. Roti are at their best when they’re warm, and lose quality quickly. I’ve found it easier to make them in small batches as needed.
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