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Today is full of melancholy and wishfulness. It’s grey and rainy outside and the Christmas tree has finally been denuded of decorations. All baubles and lights have been packed away and the poor tree taken out to be recycled. The room suddenly seems very big and empty (and a lot tidier) and my son keeps asking when it will be Christmas again. I don’t think ‘it will be back next year’ registers very well when you are four years old so I expect to be asked this question again and again for a couple of weeks before he moves on to something else.
I am on day 3 of my healthy eating drive and so far it’s been going pretty well… which is not much of a challenge of course. I have kept up my little bit of exercising and feeling a bit achey all over but definitely in a good way! Hopefully when the children return to school and nursery I can kick the exercising up a notch. If any of you have any recommendations about online routines or DVDs that have worked for you let me know – I always enjoy trying different things.
I am trying to avoid the big white carbs (bread, potatoes, pasta, rice) as much as possible and old favourite Prawn Dhansak is such a great low-carb meal option. It can be made in one pot (always a huge plus), it’s easy and filling and very, very tasty. I am not really happy with the photos (such a grey day) but I have decided to LET IT GO. This dish may taste amazing but it’s not much of a looker if truth be told!
One-pot Prawn Dhansak
2 onions, peeled and finely diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely diced (or you can use ground ginger)
1 tbsp palm sugar or light brown sugar
2 red or green chillies, finely diced
2 tsp mustard seeds
4 cardamom pods, crushed
2 tsp mild curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
a few fresh curry leaves, rinsed (optional)
200g | 7oz red lentils, rinsed
400g | 14oz raw peeled prawns (defrosted if you are using frozen)
5 large tomatoes, roughly chopped or small tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
625ml | 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock, more water if needed
400g | 14oz tin pineapple chunks in juice
Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime (add more, to taste)
fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves to garnish
vegetable oil for frying
salt and pepper to season
1. Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a large deep-sided pan. Fry the spices, ginger and chillies for a couple of minutes until the mustard seeds start to pop.
2. Lower the heat and add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook for 5-10 minutes until soft.
3. Add the red lentils and stir. Add the stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, pineapple chunks + their juice, and palm sugar and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are quite soft – about 20 minutes.
4. Add the prawns and lemon juice and stir them in. Cook for a further 10 minutes. Check if you need to top up with water if the pan is too dry and food is sticking. Add salt as needed and more lemon/lime juice if you like. Remove the cardamom pods and curry leaves.
5. Serve sprinkled with chopped coriander.
Note: the flavour gets even better the next day after you make this dish. I sometimes add panch phoran – it is a mix of spices (cumin, black mustard seeds, fenugreek & fennel) which can be bought in ethnic shops or large grocery stores.