Spiced Lentil and Chicken Naans

There’s often nothing more satisfying than tucking into food with your hands.  Messy food is best enjoyed in the comfort of your own home, especially if scoffed in front of the TV with plenty of kitchen roll to hand.  Yes, you could eat this with a knife and fork, but that’s missing the point of how lovely it is to take a large bite of the spicy filled naan bread, with the sauce dripping through your fingers.

Serves 2
For the chicken chunks:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon curry paste (I used a madras paste)

    For the curried lentils:
  • 400g tin cooked green lentils, drained
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced or grated
  • 1 small lump of ginger, grated
  • 1 green chilli, finely sliced (remove the seeds if
  • 175 ml stock (either vegetable or chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon sunflower oil

    For the yoghurt sauce:
  • 150 ml plain yoghurt
  • Small handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

    For the crispy topping:
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 1 small lump of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon curry leaves (dried or fresh)
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • Sunflower oil

    To serve:
  • 2 shop-bought naan breads

Heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. 

Take one tablespoon of yoghurt from the 150 ml yoghurt pot and stir it in a small bowl with the curry paste.  Add the chicken breast chunks and leave to marinate for an hour, then put the chunks onto a baking tray, and bake for 15 minutes until cooked through.  Lower the oven temperature to keep these warm while you prepare the lentils and naans.

For the lentils, heat the oil in a medium saucepan then add the chopped red onion and cook for 10 minutes or so until soft, then add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for a further 5 minutes.  Add the spices, cook for a further 2 minutes.

Tip the spiced onion mixture into a blender, with half of the drained lentils and most of the stock.  Whizz to blend this together (it doesn’t have to be too smooth), adding the rest of the stock if needed to get to the texture you want.  Return the mixture to the pan, stir through the rest of the lentils, and keep warm. 

Fill a small saucepan with sunflower oil to about 2 inches, then fry each of the crispy topping ingredients separately until light brown and crispy.  Don’t fry all of the ingredients together as they may go brown at different stages, so it’s better to do each element separately, but in the same oil.  Drain on kitchen paper. 

Put the naan breads in the oven to warm up, then mix tougher the yoghurt, coriander and sugar.

To serve, top the warmed naan bread with generous dollops of the spiced lentils, top with the chicken chunks and drizzle over some of the yoghurt sauce.  Sprinkle over some crispy red onion, chilli, garlic, ginger and curry leaves and tuck in.

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