You get some people who are huge fans of Jamie Oliver, like they have his whole cookbook collection and some of their staples are his recipes. I myself have never been a huge fan. Don't get me wrong, I've watched his shows and some of the things he cooks look delicious, and I do appreciate his attempt at getting the nation to cook instead of ordering take-out. But despite all that, I've never felt the need to buy any of his cookbooks. Until last week.
Whilst out last week, I came across Jamie's 15 minute meals, and I was curious of what kinds of meals would take only 15 minutes to make. The answer was all types of tempting food. So I went and mentally bookmarked the recipes I'd try out, and this recipe was the one I wanted to try out first.
The first set of instructions were to mix together the lentils and the meat. I had some difficulty with this as the lentils refused to mix with the meat, and a lot of it didn't. Then I went on to frying them and they just kept falling apart, and I was trying to be very gentle when turning them over, but those little lentils just kept falling out. 'Why am I mixing lentils into meat anyway?! Couldn't I just have made meatballs normally with some egg and breadcrumbs? This isn't going to work out, I know it wont' was what I was thinking. And thank god I went ahead and continued with the method of these little koftas, because they were so damn good. The flavour and texture of the lentils and meat together worked so well, and the when spicy sauce was cooked up in the same pot of the leftover runaway lentils - heaven. Everyone in my family loved it, and were thinking of a way to have seconds without finishing it - because my sister was coming late and we had to leave her something to eat!
The only problem I had with this recipe is that it did not take me 15 minutes. Fine, I did double the ingredients but it didn't take me 30 minutes either! More like 40 - and I didn't have enough time to make the fluffy bean and pea rice that I would have apparently had time to make in my 15 minutes, so I just made plain rice instead. You lied to me Jamie. But after I had a bite of this, I forgave you.
Adapted from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals
2 x 250g pack of ready to eat Puy lentils
2 teaspoons garam masala
800g minced lamb (Jamie used beef - Lamb was good for us, you can use either)
2 cans chopped tomatoes
2 thumb sized pieces of ginger, grated
5 spring onions, chopped
2 fresh chillis, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced (I didn't but I'm sure it would work well)
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 1/2 tablespoons runny honey
2 teaspoons curry paste (the recipe called for Patak's rogan josh curry paste - I used extra hot, so I used less paste. If you use another type use 3-4 teaspoons of curry paste)
1 400g can of coconut milk
Salt and pepper
1 bunch fresh corriander, chopped
Put the lentils, minced meat, salt, pepper, and garam masala in a large bowl, and mix together with clean hands, until mixed well (or mostly mixed). Squeeze and mold around 24 (I had at least 35) fingers/ balls from the meat mixture. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat, then fry the fingers/balls gently turning when golden.
Whilst the koftas are cooking, dump together the chopped tomatoes, ginger, spring onions, chillis, garlic, turmeric, honey, curry paste and coconut milk, in a large bowl. Mix together using a liquidizer until smooth and combined (I'm sure this could work in a food processor too).
Once the koftas have all been browned and cooked, transfer to a plate. In the same pan, add the tomato mixture sauce, mixing in the leftover lentils and meat from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, add in the koftas and season to taste, leave it to simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve, over rice with a poppadom on the side.