Anise Star Curry feat. Chickpeas, Beans and Lentils

This curry was inspired by my recent trip to India. I have found ‘Anise Curry’ in my iPhone foodie notes when I was back, and I could still remember the taste so well, even though I have tried a hundred Indian dishes after this one. I have learned though, that if I don’t know the actual name of that actual dish in that actual region of India, no chance for me to find that exact recipe. Besides, it would probably include 50 spices I did not have. So I locked myself in the kitchen and started my experiment of recreation. 

Once finished, I tried the dish and I asked my family to try it… No one of was sure at first. It was good, for sure, was really unusual, was really sweet but also spicy. By the end of the day, the verdict was obvious because nothing was left in the pot. We had a bit for lunch, and then each of us was coming and taking ‘just one more spoon’ during the day. We could not stop. Especially when the curry rested for a couple of hours, soaked the ‘juices’.

 Therefore: ATTENTION! You might not be able to stop eating this one until you lick the saucepan. 

1,5 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight) 

1 cup lentils 

1 cup red kidney beans 

3 big cloves of garlic 

2 yellow onions 

1,5 cups peeled tomatoes in their juice/ tomato sauce 

1 tsp ground cinnamon 

2 tsp cumin 

1 tsp sugar 

1 tsp anise + 4-5 anise stars 

Red chilli 

I’ll be honest, I do love cooking from scratch but definitely did not enjoy boiling chickpeas for hours. So feel free to use canned boiled chickpeas and red kidney beans, and just cook your lentils before adding chickpeas and beans. 

  1. Cook chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils. 
  2. In a pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil, add chopped garlic and onions. Cook until golden. 
  3. Add cumin, cinnamon and anise (not anise stars). Leave for a minute and keep mixing until you can smell the spices. 
  4. Add cooked chickpeas, beans and lentils to the pan, cover with tomato paste and sugar! If tomato paste is not covering everything and is too thick, add some water. Leave under the lid on a medium heat to cook. Check it from time to time if it did not dry out, add water if needed. 
  5. After it’s been cooking and absorbing the flavours for at least 30 minutes, open the lid and add anise stars. Also add chopped chilli or dried chilli flakes to taste. Mix through and leave for another 5 minutes without lid. 

I suggest leaving it to cool under the lid for a bit before serving. 

You will be amazed. Enjoy! 

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