Those of you who follow me on social media know that Ireland was subjected to severe winter weather last week. Siberian winds brought blizzard conditions to the East coast, practically shutting everything down. Schools were closed for 3 days; all state offices were closed, the public transport system was suspended and people were told to stay indoors due to the status red weather warning. Ireland is not used to such weather conditions, and people took to the shops on Wednesday to buy up emergency provisions. The result? The supermarkets were essentially bought empty. Not a single piece of fresh food to be found – no fruit and veg, no bread, no meat.
The weather abated on Saturday, and the snow melted on Sunday. Today everything went back to normal, with daughter at school and husband and work. Yet when I went to my local supermarket, the shelves were mostly still empty, like above. I managed to grab a tray of cooked chicken breast, a bag of carrots and a punnet of spinach leaves, as well as a tub of 0% fat Greek yoghurt. What do you make with that? Bump it up with some staples.
These little round bits are really disks of wonder. Red split lentils are a must for all vegetarians – they are a great source of protein. But with their fiber content, they also help lower your cholesterol, and despite being low-calorie, they release their energy slowly and keep you satisfied for a long time.
So, with my shopping and the lentils at home, I managed to cook up something that was entirely my own idea – and as a self-confessed non-cook, I was actually very pleased with the outcome, especially as it was suitable for *all* the family, including me. May I present my own concoction:
The Pointless Chicken Curry Daal
1 tbsp curry powder (0 SmartPoints)
cooking spray (0 SmartPoints)
2 onions (0 SmartPoints)
chicken/vegetable stock (optional) (0 SmartPoints)
150g split red lentils (0 SmartPoints)
4 large carrots (0 SmartPoints)
200g cooked chicken breast, diced or pulled (0 SmartPoints)
a punnet of spinach leaves (0 SmartPoints)
Peel your carrots and cut into pieces about an inch long. Put on the boil. Meanwhile, give a few sprays of oil in a large pan and roast the curry powder. Slice the onions into rings and add to the curry powder. Fry until brown. Now add your lentils and roast them for about 2 minutes in the pan while stirring. Then fill up the pan with 750ml (2.5 cups) of stock. (Hot water will do, too.) Bring to the boil, then leave simmering for 15 minutes with the lid on.
In the meantime, your carrots have hopefully softened. Put in blender and turn to mush. (Add water if need be.) Add the carrot puree to the lentils. Season with salt and possibly more curry. Add the chicken pieces and let boil for 5 minutes. Then add the spinach leaves, carefully folding them in, and leave to simmer for another 5 minutes.
Serve with spoonful of natural yoghurt and a sprig of coriander.
Those, who are not on diet, might also like some naan bread with this daal. Otherwise this is a zero Smartpoints meal as none of the ingredients have any points value. It’s fantastic winter comfort food, filling you up and keeping you warm – especially if you are generous with the curry ⚡ . What’s best – this is a very forgiving dish that needs neither culinary skills nor tricky ingredients, and if you have mistakenly made it too hot with your curry, you can balance it out with some fat-free, 0 SmartPoints natural yoghurt.
Á propos too hot – it definitely doesn’t reach this ↓ on the open-ended Armitage scale of hotness: