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.

Copyright: All content, photos and text are property of Curry and Comfort and cannot be used without permission