• Yield: Serves 4–6

  • Time: 45 minutes cooking

Haray Lentils aur Kale

This is almost a meal in itself, nutritionally complete if you add some whole-grain pita bread (or rice) and yogurt on the side. You could also convert it into a soup by adding a mugful of water or stock toward the end of the cooking time.

  • 1 1/3 cups green lentils

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 4 oz green beans cut into 3/4-inch segments

  • 3 oz kale, thick stems and veins discarded, finely chopped

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

For the curry paste

  • 1 teaspoon peeled and finely grated ginger

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds

  • 3 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

  • 1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped shallots

  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree

1. Put the lentils, turmeric, and 2 pints water into a medium pan and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add the cayenne, beans, kale, coriander, carrots, and salt. Stir and bring to a boil again. Cover partially and cook gently for another 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the curry paste: combine the ginger, garlic, ground cumin, and coriander in a small bowl, then mix in 2 fl oz water.

3. Pour the oil into a medium frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, add the whole cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for 5 seconds, then add the shallots. Stir and fry until lightly browned. Add the curry paste and fry until you can see the oil along the edges, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the tomato puree and fry for about another minute, until you see the oil along the edges.

4. When the lentils have finished cooking, add the contents of the frying pan. Stir and cook gently for another 5 minutes.

Excerpted from Vegetarian India by Madhur Jaffrey. Copyright © 2015 by Random House. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Madhur Jaffrey is a cook, author and award-winning actress. Specializing in Indian food, she has written more than 15 books, most recently At Home with Madhur Jaffrey. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Financial Times, The New Yorker, Saveur, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Vogue, Smithsonian and House Beautiful, among other publications. She has appeared in more than 20 films, including Merchant Ivory’s "Heat and Dust." She was awarded an honorary CBE for “her services to drama and promotion of appreciation for Indian food and culture.”