Monday, November 14, 2011

Indian-Thai Fusion Lentil Curry

A big bowl of lentils makes me very happy.  Maybe it's the sunshine yellow color or the fact I know it's loaded with protein, good carbohydrates and lots of nutrition.  This particular lentil curry has me extra happy because I took my typical Sri Lankan or Indian style lentils and gave it a spicy Thai twist.  I wasn't sure if the twist was going to work, but everyone knows I love to experiment and take a chance. Well it more than worked out.  I really loved the flavor combination and it's going to become a regular for my rice and curry meals.

For the Lentils:
2 cups uncooked Masoor Lentils (available in Indian stores)
3-4 cups of water
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 cinnamon stick

Notes:  Do not add salt for better cooking.   This will yield about 4 cups cooked lentils.
 For the Tempering of the Lentils:
1 medium onion chopped
1 red bell pepper or 2-3 sweet red chilies sliced
1 handful of Thai basil leaves (regular basil can be substituted)
1 cup coconut milk
1 heaping Tbs of ginger-garlic-paste or 2 cloves of garlic grated and 1 inch of ginger grated
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
1/2 tsp of red chili flakes (or to taste)
2-3 Tbs of fish sauce

Step 1:  Cook your lentils
Wash your lentils well in cold running water.  You want the water to run clear from the lentil residue.  Then put the lentils in a large pan like a deep saute pan (I find the lentils do not boil over onto the stove if you use a wide pan).  Add the water, turmeric and cinnamon stick.  Boil on medium high heat for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are cooked. The lentils will be soft and easily crushed by your fingers when done.  Once cooked set aside.

Step 2: Make the Thai Tempering-
Heat a large pan with 1 Tbs of canola oil.  First add your chopped onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Then add your spices (cumin seeds, mustard seeds and red chili flakes).  Saute for another minute.

Then add the ginger, garlic and red chilies or peppers.  Fry for another 2-3 minutes.

Next add your cleaned Thai Basil leaves and Fish Sauce. Now the fish sauce is the salt in the dish.  Start with 2Tbs and add more as needed.  I ended up using 3 full Tbs.

Add your 1 cup of coconut milk next.  I also add about 1/4 cup of water to rinse out the can.  You get about 2 cups of coconut milk per can so I saved the other half to use later with another dish. That's a great way to stretch a buck. : )

Finally add your four cups of cooked lentils.  Stir well and taste for seasoning.  Allow to simmer for another 2-3 minutes.  Then you can turn off the stove and serve this with any rice and curry meal.  Enjoy.

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  1. Beautiful combination of flavours! Indeed a great fusion lentil

  2. What a beautiful dish. So vibrant. I need to cook with lentils more since they are so beautiful and healthy. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. I've never heard of Masoor Lentils, but now I have to go find them! I adore lentil dishes and as you know, love the garlic/ginger combination. This has gone on my list of foods to try! It looks fantastic.

  4. I love lentils - and you're right - it is like the sunshine!

  5. The color of this dish alone makes me happy :) Lentils are my favorite ever in curries, I think.

  6. This is a beautiful dish, I have never made Indian-Thai lentils before always do an Italian version with garlic basil and tomatoes. I like these ingredients and will have to try this.

  7. This looks warming and comforting--perfect for fall!

  8. Whenever you take a chance it always pays off. The color of this dish is gorgeous!!!

  9. Now this is seriously up my alley. I will be trying this out very soon

  10. Lovely! Hey, I think you will like my latest post - Bobotie - curried meat loaf!

  11. I love the color, you're right it does make me happy! This looks perfect for a day like today-gloomy and rainy. Great recipe, it's gorgeous!

  12. Nice twist looks yummmmo. if u like plz join me on fb.

  13. Ramona - this looks delicious! I'm a HUGE fan of lentils! One of my favorite legumes! As always - a beautifully creative dish!

  14. I never used to like lentils, but they are growing on me. This looks really good!

  15. My husband and I went out tonight and I had an amazing lentil soup. I just told him I want to start working with lentils more. Looks like an amazing recipe. Thank you for sharing!

  16. A big bowl of Lentils always makes me happy, too. Maybe I'll try this one, it sounds awesome. And yes, get some Mary Poppins in your life!

  17. We tried it today, and it was amazing! As pleasing to the palate as it is to the eyes. My tummy thanks you!

  18. LeChatelier- So glad you tried it and enjoyed it. I really enjoyed this version of lentils and am glad I'm not the only one. :)

  19. A real winner. My lentils were dated 1.5 yrs ago so I put twice the amt of coconut cream/milk. Took an hour to get those old lentils soft! I will try adding some lemon peels next time and see what happens. Trying to duplicate flavor of my fav Indian restaurant. Thanks so much!


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