When I took a closer look at the recipe, I saw that the only spice it used was curry powder. These days I have so many Indian spices in my pantry that I decided to make my own blend. It was easy to do and they blended the earthiness of the spinach and lentils with the sweetness of the potatoes to a perfect pitch.
The way the recipe was originally written, you saute the onion, garlic and ginger, then add the liquid, and then add the spices and tomato paste. One of the main things I have learned about Indian cooking is that you cook the spices in the oil before you add the liquid so the spices can bloom. The same applies to the tomato paste. It was about that time I decided to create my own dish instead of making it as written.
The result was quite lovely. The sweet potato adds an extra depth of texture and flavor that makes this a memorable dish. It is warm and hearty and full of flavor. You can't ask for more than that.
If you prefer, you can use curry powder instead of the nigella, cumin and mustard seeds and other spices; add it where the recipes tells you to add the rest of the spices.
Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes
CURRIED LENTILS WITH SWEET POTATOES AND SPINACHMakes 4 main or 6 side servings
3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp nigella seeds (optional)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ginger, chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
cayenne pepper to taste
salt to taste
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup lentils, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1-1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 lb chopped spinach
Combine nigella seeds and oil in large saucepan and place over medium-high heat. When the seeds are sizzling add the cumin and mustard seeds and cook for about 30 seconds, followed immediately by the onion. Saute, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and starting to brown. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the rest of the spices and cook for 2 minutes, being careful not to let them burn. Add the tomato paste and cook for another few minutes. Add the lentils and the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook, covered, until the lentils are just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add more water if needed.
Add the sweet potato and tomatoes and cover the pot again. Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender, then add the spinach and stir well. Cook for another 5, until the spinach has wilted. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately over dill rice.
Exported from Home Cookin 7.50 (www.mountainsoftware.com)