Holy smokes this recipe was 10 times better than I thought it would turn out. I love lentils and have forever been fond of them since my grandmother would make a french lentil soup often when I was a kid.
I usually keep a jar of lentils in the pantry for weeks when I am trying to curb our spending a bit. They are protein packed, inexpensive, and vegetarian / vegan friendly. I originally intended to make a Southeast Asian curry, with lots of ginger and coconut milk and lime juice. But at the last minute, I was inspired to veer toward warm spices and Indian flavors. My husband and I love the spicy and rich flavors of Indian cuisine. I am constantly looking for more vegetarian recipes to make at home that are satisfying and make for great leftovers. The result of this Indian curry was stellar and I plan to incorporate this dish into our regular weeknight meal rotation! I hope you do as well.
3 TB coconut oil
3 TB curry powder, or 1 tsp each cumin, coriander, and turmeric
1 head of garlic, chopped finely (10-12 cloves)
1 small yellow onion, chopped finely
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
3 TB ginger, chopped finely
1 C dried brown lentils
1 15oz can coconut milk
1 C chopped cilantro
Heat a large saute pan or dutch oven with coconut oil. Add the curry powder and toast for 1 minute. Then add the garlic and onion and saute for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add your ginger and continue to stir until the oil is mostly absorbed. This recipe calls for a lot of ginger so feel free to cut down on it if you are not a huge fan. I can’t get enough of this root! At this point, your ingredients will look like a thick brown mess. Add the can of tomatoes as well as 3 cups of water or vegetable stock and the cup of lentils. Turn the heat on high. Once the liquid reaches a boil, turn the heat to low and cover for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are soft and cooked through. Taste the dish at this point and adjust as needed. For example, add chili powder.
Add coconut milk, and season with salt, cayenne pepper, and fresh cilantro. Stir until entirely combined. Serve over basmati rice and top with a spoon of good quality organic yogurt. Voila, Indian made at home!
** Turn your rice cooker on once you add your lentils. Rinse the rice 2-3 times to remove the starch. I do this right in the rice cooker pot. Then I throw in 2 cloves and 6 cardamom pods. I have a steamer basket in my rice cooker and add in one cup of frozen peas. By the time your curry is complete you can be up and running with an Indian rice pilaf.