Delicious and nourishing, coconut is an energy-booster for the brain, cumin is an anti-inflammatory spice that packs a tasty punch, and lamb chunks are an excellent source of protein and B vitamins, including niacin, riboflavin, and B12, which are needed for the production of red blood cells.
- 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil or ghee
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 750g –1kg of lamb (leg, rump, or shoulder), cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 red chillies, deseeded and sliced
- 2.5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
- ½ tablespoon of ground cumin
- 1 ½ tablespoons of garam masala
- ½ tablespoon of ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
- 2 teaspoons of ground turmeric
- 8 green cardamom pods
- 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1 liter of chicken or vegetable broth (stock)
- 400ml can of coconut milk
- 250ml of passata
- 200g of red or green lentils
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- 500g of baby spinach leaves
- A handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- 100g of slivered (flaked) almonds, toasted sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the raita:
- A bunch of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 200g of plain yogurt
- ½ cucumber, grated
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan and add the onions and lamb. Cook over a medium-high heat until the lamb is sealed and turning an even brown. Add the garlic, chilli, ginger, and all the dried spices, and cook over a medium heat for a few more minutes, until the lamb has absorbed all the spices.
- Add the broth (stock), coconut milk, and passata, cover the pan, and cook very gently for 40–50 minutes, until the lamb is almost tender. Stir in the lentils and continue cooking over a low heat for a further 15 minutes, until the soup is thickened and the lentils are cooked. Season with salt and pepper, and add a little more chilli powder if you would like more heat. Finally, lift the flavour with a little lemon juice.
- To make the raita, stir together the mint, yogurt, and cucumber.
- Just before serving, gently stir the baby spinach leaves into the soup, to wilt them, then ladle the piping hot soup into large bowls. Sprinkle with the coriander leaves and almonds and serve with the raita on the side (or swirl a little into the soup, if you prefer).
Recipe from Nourish Your Brain Cookbook by Rika K. Keck, photography by CICO Books (Cico Books, £12.99)