I invited my friend Paul around last night for a frosty beverage, to play a little Black Hawk Down and for him to review my questions for Dr Nusbacher (the interview should be later tonight, fingers crossed!) and I cooked a nice curry for dinner. Here's the recipe, should you want to try it yourself:
Chicken, Lentil & Spinach Balti - Serves 3-4
500g chicken breasts - cut into 1in chunks
1 large onion - finely diced
6 large flat mushrooms - thickly sliced
1 tin of green lentils - drained
250g of spinach
Half a jar of Balti curry paste
200g of basmati rice
3 Cardamom pods
Onion Bhaji Nan Breads (one each)
Fry the chicken in some vegetable oil over a high heat for about five minutes, or until they start to brown, ensuring that the surfaces of all the chicken pieces appear cooked. Season well with salt and pepper. Then add the balti paste, frying until the chicken is thoroughly coated in the spices. Add a little water as necessary to prevent the paste burning to the bottom of the dish. Add the onions, and let them fry in the paste mixture until they take on colour, soften and lose their shape. Then add the sliced mushrooms, seasoning with a little more salt and pepper to draw the moisture out of the mushrooms. Fry until the mushrooms have taken on the colours and flavours of the balti sauce.
Add half of the spinach, and let it steam in the pan until it has wilted, before adding the rest of the spinach. Cook until all the spinach has wilted, and then add the lentils. Top up the sauce with enough water to prevent burning, and then simmer over a low to medium heat, stirring occasionally for another 10 minutes. Then put a teaspoon or so of turmeric powder into a pan, along with a tablespoon of cumin seeds, the cardamom pods and a little salt. Add the rice to this with enough boiling water to cover the rice to a depth of 1.5 centimetres. Boil the rice over a high heat, stirring frequently. Add some snipped coriander leaves to both the rice and the balti sauce approximately five minutes before the end of the cooking time (when roughly half of the water has been absorbed by the rice), and heat the Nan breads.
Serve immediately with chilled sparkling water or suitably frosty lager.