This dish came about because I had defrosted a bunch of prawns for a salad… and then the weather changed. It was horrible! So I wanted a nice, warming, filling dish to warm me up and bring some sunshine back into my life! This prawn and red lentil dish hit the spot nicely!
It was nice and simple to throw together and just half an hour of simmering works wonders on the depth of flavour you get from a dish like this. The ingredient list might seem a bit long but I promise you, it doesn’t take that long to throw it all in a pan and the combination of flavours really works! I also managed to get my workout in while it was simmering so that was a nice bonus!
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp dried coriander leaves
1 sweet red pepper, sliced
400g tin chopped tomatoes
+ 1 tin boiling water
3 tbsp coconut milk powder ( or 1 sachet coconut cream)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp garlic puree ( 1-2 cloves, crushed)
1 vegetable stock cube
8 tbsp red lentils
~ 150g prawns, defrosted (I used a mix of king prawns and coldwater prawns)
– Heat a splash of oil in a large heavy frying pan (I adore my enamel cast iron pan for this kind of dish!)
– Add the onion and spices and gently cook for a few minutes until the onion in soft and the spices are fragrant.
– Add the pepper and cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally.
– Add the tinned tomato, rinsing out the tin with the hot water, to coconut milk powder, the tomato puree, garlic puree and the stock cube. Give it a good stir to mix.
– Add the lentils and stir in.
– Leave to simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes until the lentils are soft and the liquid reduced by half.
– Add the prawns and heat through until piping hot.
– Serve with rice, or without as a nice Fast Day option. You can sprinkle a little fresh chopped coriander on top for a little more panache!
I think that I’m rather beginning to get into the swing of Fast Day recipes now! The temptation at the beginning was to just keep it simple and stick to basics. You can’t really mess up a grilled chicken breast and a plate of steamed veg, can you? But that got boring, fast. I like to look forward to my dinner, especially when I have to look forward to it all day without even the blip of lunch to see me through. So I’ve been playing around with some fancier options recently.
This dish is still simple, and it does essentially comprise a plate full of chicken and vegetables. But presentation is everything! You eat with your eyes first, after all. By stir frying you get a different texture and the cauliflower ‘rice’ adds a visual appeal and a satisfaction that I just don’t feel you would get if you just added cauliflower into the stir fry. The crunchiness of the baby corn and sugar snap peas is incredibly welcome after a day’s abstinence and the punch that you can pack into what boils down to the simplest of sauces gives you a lot of flavour for very little! The other nice bonus is that this is a proper plate full of food. You certainly can’t feel deprived looking at that!
Serves 1 (~300cal)
100g cauliflower, coarsely grated
1/2 tsp five spice
~125g chicken breast, sliced
100g courgette, sliced
100g baby corn, halved
50g sugar snap peas, halved
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
a dash of boiling water
– Place the grated cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and add a pinch of five spice and a pinch of salt.
– Stir well and add 1 tbsp water.
– Microwave for 2 minutes on full power.
– Heat your non stick frying pan or wok. (Now, as with any dry frying, non stick is your friend. Do not try it with anything else or you will weld that chicken to the pan!)
– Add the chicken and cook until just browned.
– Add the remaning five spice and the courgette, corn and peas.
– Stir fry until the courgette is just starting to soften and is catching a little colour.
– Add the soy sace, oyster sauce and just a dash of boiling water. Just enough to cover the base of the pan. If you add too much, simply boil until the sauce is reduced.
– Make sure everything is coated in sauce by stiring well then serve with your cauliflower “rice”.
NB. If you want to make this gluten free make sure you have the right soy and oyster sauces!
Over the last year surely everyone has heard of the 5:2 Fast Diet? Well, I am one of the latest people to give it a try. I haven’t been doing it for long enough to really pass judgement yet. Suffice to say, it’s not hard, you just have to have some will power, and perhaps a little creativity too! Whether or not you’re interested in fasting, this is a delicious, low fat, low calorie dish that can be enjoyed any day you like!
Serves 2 (~170 calories each)
1 / 2 squirts olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp nigella seeds
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
75g red lentils
salt and pepper to taste
fresh coriander to serve
– Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. You really want to be using as little as physically possible here, it really is to just stop the onion sticking.
– Add the onion and garlic and cook until just turning translucent.
– Add the herbs and spices and cook for another minute.
– Add the chopped tomatoes and about half a can of water. (Swish it around to get the last tomato bits out.)
– Add the lentils and bring to the boil.
– Simmer for 30 minutes over a low heat.
– Season to taste and serve scattered with fresh coriander.
– A grilled chicken breast makes an excellent addition too!