Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Lentil Curry with Potatoes, Carrots, Spinach, and Chick-peas

I love Indian food, but it's been difficult for me to master all of the subtle intricacies of the spices and textures. As a result, I've resigned myself to enjoying it when eating out, but I rarely attempt it at home any more.

So when I first saw this recipe I was reluctant to try it. It had Indian written all over it. But I had just discovered this smoked Spanish paprika at my local spice shop and was eager to try it in as many recipes as I could find. So I decided to try it anyway.

And it was so worth it. This dish has just the right blend of spices--they're strong and you know that they are there, but they don't overpower (which is the problem I usually have when I try to cook Indian food at home). I was worried that the two serrano peppers would make it too spicy, but the combination of the other ingredients and spices mellows out the heat.

It looks a little intimidating because of the number of ingredients, but a lot of them are the spices. It's not something you can throw together in a half hour, but if you feel like cooking and you have a couple of hours it's well worth the effort. And it makes a week's worth of lunches if you're looking for things to take to work with you.

I only made a couple of changes to this recipe:

1. I use 3 Tbsp. of the oil and I omit the butter.
2. Sometimes I'll throw in a half a cup of peas, if I have them in the freezer.

Otherwise, it's really good as it is, especially with brown rice to round out the proteins.

Home Cookin 4.8 Chapter: Soups and Stews

Lentil Curry with Potatoes, Carrots, Spinach, and Chick-peas

2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. butter
2 large or 3 med onions, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 fresh serrano chilies, finely minced
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp. ground coriander
1-1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 qt. water
1 c. red or brown lentils, rinsed
2 large potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
4 carrots, cut into 1/2" thick rounds
1 lb. fresh spinach
1/2 c. cooked chick-peas
2 tsp. fresh lime juice

Heat oil and butter in large saucepan over med. heat. Add onions and saute, stirring frequently, 10-15 mins., until onions turn golden brown. Add garlic, chilies, ginger, coriander, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, paprika, salt and pepper. Saute for 2-3 mins. longer, stirring frequently.

Stir in water and lentils. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook 10 mins. Add potatoes and carrots and simmer 15-20 mins., until potatoes are tender.

Add spinach and chick-peas and simmer for 5 mins. longer. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in the lime juice.

Servings: 4

from The One-Dish Vegetarian by Maria Robbins (St. Martin's Griffin, 2000

I didn't notice until today that yesterday was my 100th post. Looks like I'm here to stay, for what it's worth.


Anonymous said...

Do you have a copy of Madhur Joffrey's Introduction to Indian Cooking. It is from the early 70s (maybe even the late 60s). I have made a few of the vegetarian dishes and they are incredibly simple. There is one for potatoes cooked in a sauce made of pureed onions and tumeric that is unbelivable.

dejamo said...

No--I have her World Cooking and the Step-by-Step Vegetarian, but not that one. I'll have to hunt it down.

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