This is a wonderful cold weather recipe. and cheap to boot. the tamarind injection came from my new madhur jaffrey book (christmas present from my dad) and makes it a sort of west bengal lentil dish for 2. i served it for stav, with basmati rice infused with lots of curry leaves and mustard seeds.
1 cup yellow lentils
5 cups of water
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp coconut oil
4 dried hot chillies
a thumb of ginger or galangal
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp thick tamarind paste (made by helen's fair hand. thanks!)
2 tsp caster sugar
put the lentils water and turmeric in a pan and bring to the boil. chop the tomatoes roughly and add. simmer for about 40 minutes partially covered, until the lentils are soft and floury but retain a nutty quality. most of the water should be absorbed.
now in a frying pan heat the oil on a medium flame while finely slicing the chillies, and dicing the ginger and garlic. add these to the pan and gently fry. now slice the leeks finely and add these. spoon in the lentils, adding salt to taste. now finally dissolve in the tamarind and sugar (about equal parts so that they balance one another).
et viola. a cheap winter warmer. bitter sweet like january.