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The past weekend I have without a doubt consumed more meat than a lion in Rongai! Nyama choma, tikkas and steaks are sitting pretty in my tummy, I can still feel them. Don’t get me wrong I do love me some nyama choma, I mean nothing beats a goat roast with sauté potatoes and kachumbari from Atlantis Garden, but me and the weighing scale are having a battle of numbers and unfortunately I am losing, or rather gaining… you get the picture right?

The idea of Meatless Monday has been around for a while, I spotted it on a few blogs. It is basically to go without meat once a week, on Monday. I won’t bore you with all the health and environmental benefits, you can read those here. I will however say, it is quite refreshing NOT to have a meal with meat. I’m no stranger to it, remember when I gave up meat for lent?

For my first Meatless Monday, I decided to go with an Indian inspired lentil and chickpeas curry. This recipe is a mixture of several recipes, It can be a soup or a stew; just depends on what you’re in the mood for.

Here is the recipe

1 cup yellow lentils, soaked in water overnight

1 can chickpeas (I used canned chickpeas, out of convenience. But you can use dried chickpeas, just soak them in water first)

1-3 green cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

pinch of asafoetida

1 onion, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 inch piece of ginger, minced

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 tomato, grated

3/4 cup water

1 tsp salt

2 whole green chillies

another 4-5 cups water

bunch of coriander

lemon, squeezed

Soak the lentils in a large bowl filled with water for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.

Heat oil in a pan, add cardamom and cinnamon, cook until cardamom pods puff up. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida.

Next add the chopped onions, cook until brown on the edges but not burnt.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, coriander, turmeric, grated tomato, tomato paste, salt and 3/4 cup water. Add this paste to the pot and cook over a high heat. Stir frequently to stop it from sticking to the bottom. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Drain the lentils, add them to the pot along with the chickpeas. Make sure to stir through so as to coat all the lentils in the sauce. Cook on a medium heat for 6-8 minutes.

Add 4-5 cups of water, depending on how soupy you like it, as well as the green chillies, which you can slice in half. Cover and cook until lentils are tender. should take up to an hour. You may need to add water during cooking, if you are going for the soup version, add about a cup of water halfway through.

To serve, add chopped coriander and lemon juice. This goes well with naan or steamed rice. I served mine with paranthas (chapati) I bought frozen from the supermarket. They are convenient and tasty, smothered in butter of course!

You could also add spinach to the lentils, about 20 minutes before you finish cooking, add chopped spinach to the lentils.

To serve as a soup, pulse half the lentils in a blender  and serve with the whole lentils in a bowl, mop up with crusty bread.

There you have it my lentil and chickpeas stew.