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Chef Special from Atul Kochhar: Goan Spinach and Lentils

Updated: May 26, 2020

Another Atul Kochhar chef special for the Big Curry Night In!

This is a very simple stir-fry recipe that can easily be doubled for a vegetarian main course. I think it goes particularly well with pilau, quinoa or chickpeas.




50g toor lentils (toor daal)

1 green chilli

1 small onion

1 tomato

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

200g baby spinach leaves (see Atul’s tip, page 105)

3 tablespoons frozen grated coconut, plus extra to garnish

sea salt

Get cooking:

  1. Bring a large covered saucepan of water to the boil and assemble all the ingredients and other equipment before you begin. You also need a sieve or colander and a wok or a large sauté or frying pan.

  2. Rinse the lentils in the sieve with cold running water, then add them to the boiling water. Return the water to the boil and leave the lentils to boil, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until they are tender, but still holding their shape.

  3. Meanwhile, remove the stalk from the green chilli, if necessary, then slice the chilli lengthways. Peel, quarter and thinly slice the onion. Halve and slice the tomato.

  4. Heat the vegetable oil over a medium-high heat in the wok. Add the mustard seeds and stir until they pop. Add the green chilli, onion and tomato with a pinch of salt, and continue stirring until the onion is softened, but not coloured. Turn the heat down and leave, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the lentils have finished cooking.

  5. Meanwhile, rinse the spinach and shake off the excess water.

  6. Drain the lentils, then stir them into the sauté pan. Add the spinach and frozen coconut, season with salt and stir-fry until the spinach wilts. When you take the coconut out of the freezer set aside a little extra for the garnish.

  7. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary. Sprinkle with a little extra coconut just before serving – it will thaw in the residual heat.

Fancy giving this recipe a try? Make sure to tag us on Instagram: @bigcurrynightinuk #BigCurryNightIn

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