Friday, April 1, 2011

Spicy Lentil Curry

My kids love to eat lentils with rice.  There are many ways to cook lentils and I like to cook them in different ways to change things up.  This version is creamy, savory and infused with some Indian flavors. 

You will use Masoor Lentils in this recipe.  Wash the Masoor Lentils well in cold running water.  If you see any stones, make sure you pick them out.  You can find  Masoor Lentils at your local Indian Grocers. 

Tip:  You always want to boil your lentils without salt so they cook faster.  Salt tends to slow down the cooking process.  Salt can be added at the end of the dish.

I started with:
1 cup of washed Masoor Lentils.
3 cups of water
1/2 medium onion chopped
1 green chili (serrano) sliced down the middle
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbs of grated garlic and ginger
1 cinnamon stick

I cooked the lentils on medium high heat for 15-20 minutes. I recommend you use a large deep frying pan or nonstick wok if you cook on high heat, otherwise it tends to boil over.   If you only have saucepans, then cook on medium heat and keep an eye on it. 

You will know the lentils are done when the water has cooked out and the lentils are soft and tender.  The turmeric will give the lentils a sunny yellow color.

When it comes to this point, turn off the stove and set the pan aside until later.

Gather together:
One diced small onion
1 tsp of cumin seed
1 tsp of mustard seed
2-4 dry red chilies broken into pieces (or to taste)
10-20 curry leaves

Heat 1 Tbs of canola oil in a small frying pan on medium heat. Once the oil is heated add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and dry chilies.  Cook for about 30 seconds until the seeds start to splutter.

Now add the onions, curry leaves and some salt and fry for 1-2 minutes.

Add half a can of coconut milk and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the pan with the coconut milk to the pan with the cooked lentils.  Add 1/2 a cup of water to the coconut milk pan so you can get all the flavors out of the pan and add it to the lentils as well.   Stir well and cook on medium heat for another 5 minutes before serving.   You will want to taste for salt here.  Add salt as needed. 

Serves 4-6 people.  Serve with rice and any other curries you like.  My kids like to just eat it with just rice.   Enjoy.

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