Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Red Curry Lentils

If you're looking to cut back on your meat consumption this year, lentils are a great place to start.  They are a legume, but they cook much faster than other legumes (such as dried beans) - usually in 10-40 minutes.  They also have the third highest protein of any legume or nut, along with a lot of iron, fiber, vitamins and minerals*.  Convinced? Good.

Now on to the recipe...These lentils are amazing!  They pack a lot of heat, which you can adjust if you like, but they also have a TON of flavor.  They are chock full of some of my favorite South Asian spices - garam masala, turmeric, garlic, ginger, and of course, curry.  You can serve them over rice, pile them on some warm naan, or eat them straight with a spoon - I've done all three.  You really can't go wrong.  And if you have leftovers - they are even better the next day as the flavors continue to develop.  The recipe is simple and the results are delicious!  Enjoy!

**These were quite spicy - too spicy for my kids, so you may want to start with 1 Tbsp. of curry paste and add from there.  My husband and I loved them, especially topped with gobs of cilantro, but they are spicy, so be warned...

Red Curry Lentils

1 1/2 c. lentils, rinsed and picked over
1/2 large onion, diced
2 T. butter
2 T. red curry paste**
1/2 T. garam masala
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced ginger
a few shakes cayenne pepper
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/3 - 2/3 c. coconut milk
cilantro, for serving

Cook the lentils according to package directions (usually boil in water for about 20 minutes, until tender).  Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the onions and saute for a few minutes until golden.  Add the spices - red curry paste, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, sugar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper - and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes.  Stir and simmer until smooth.

Add the lentils and the coconut milk.  Stir to combine and simmer for another 15-20 minutes.  You can add more coconut milk if the spice is too much.  Serve over rice and garnish with lots of fresh cilantro.

Source: Adapted from Pinch of Yum
*Info from Wikipedia

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