Wednesday, January 11, 2012

for aidan: curried lentils

A good friend of mine recently was asked to go on a gluten & sugar free diet, and has requested some recipes. This is a recipe that I have not yet perfected, but have enjoyed thus far and that I think she will like.

I made this last weekend, and I have to say it was one of the hits last week. It might even taste better as leftovers, really. Bunny and I enjoyed this as lunch the next day, and I've had it as lunch twice this week so far ... warmed up and stuffed into a lovely pita. It was sooo good.

As with most of my recipes, this one is infinitely adaptable. To get at this, I looked at a lentil & sweet potato recipe on Smitten Kitchen, a curried lentils recipe on Epicurious and some lentil tips on The Kitchn then decided what I liked from each, looked at what was in my cupboard, and smooshed them all together in 1 recipe.

  • 1.5 cups dried lentils (I like green or brown, but I mean they're lentils - if you like red, go red)
    • With legumes, it is always a good idea to pick through them and make sure that there's no junk in there.
  • 4 cups liquid
    • I used chicken broth, use what floats your boat. Veg stock, apple juice etc
    • You may need a little extra - use your own judgment
  • 1-2 onions, diced
  • 1-2 peppers, roughly chopped (I used green, but would go red or yellow next time)
  • 3-5 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 cups frozen peas and/or corn
  • Spices:
    • 1.5 tsp garam masala
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp tumeric
    • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
      • Note: feel free to replace with curry powder, or whatever Indian spices you like best
    • Salt, to taste
  • 2-4 tbsp oil (I used olive)
  1. In medium to large dutch oven or soup pot, heat 1-2 tbsp oil. When hot, add onions & garlic to pan, saute until onion is translucent or about 5 minutes. Add carrot & peppers to pan, saute a further 5 minutes. Add spices (except salt), stir to coat all veg equally.
  2. Add lentils & liquid to pan, bring to a boil while stirring frequently. When water boils, reduce to simmer, partially cover, and let simmer for 40 minutes, checking in & stirring occasionally. (Note: at this point, if you notice that all the liquid boils out add a little bit more, but you shouldn't need to).
  3. After 40 minutes, add frozen peas, stir through lentil mixture until equally distributed. Cook another 5 minutes.
  4. At this point, taste test. This is the point to add salt, if necessary. This is done when lentils are tender.
Serving Suggestions:
  • These are great on a bed of basmati (or other) rice
  • Amazing with pita or naan bread
  • Serve as a side dish to another main (but easily serve as a meal)
    • Bunny thinks it would be great with blackened fish
  • Make extra, because the leftovers are fantastical
  • Again, infinitely customizable. Things I might do in the future:
    • Add celery, parsnips or potato
    • Adjust the seasoning (Bunny would prefer a little more cayenne, I like my food with just a hint of a kick)
    • Make this into a true curry: add some yogurt to give it a real creaminess
    • Tomato: I would never add it, but I bet it'd be great in this dish for tomato-lovers
    • Adjust quantities: bulk up the veggies, man!

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