Monday, October 10, 2011

Curried Lentil Stew

Ever since I made the recipe for Curry Dahl (Lentils) a while back, I have been trying to think up other recipes to incorporate them into. My Moms favorite soup is lentil and while I was visiting with her the other day, she gave me a packaged one to try. I simmered it up with some chopped onion, garlic carrots and celery. It was a hearty Italian style Lentil soup, which was good and all, but I realized that I much prefer the pairing of Indian flavors with lentils. That is how I came up with this next recipe.

I call this recipe a stew because the consistency is in-between that of a traditional Dahl and your typical vegetable soup. Loaded with fresh vegetables and lots of Indian flavor, this is a hearty dish that is great served on it's own or atop a mound of white or saffron rice. Add some store bought Naan (unless you have time to make your own) or some toasted pita and you have a full meal.

This is also a very versatile recipe in the sense that you could throw any veggies of your choice in the mix. Just keep in mind that you might have to alter your cooking time depending what you use. I love the fennel in this because it gives it a unique twist with it's slightly licorice flavor and aroma.

As many of you know I like to make larger portions so that I have some to last Brandon and I throughout the week for lunches and such. However, if you prefer, you can split this recipe in half or you can spoon you can do as I did and freeze half of it for one of those nights when you don't feel like doing much of anything other than throwing something in the microwave and vegging on the couch.

Cook Time:

Serves: 10 with rice , 6-8 without rice

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50-60 minutes


2 cups each - red potatoes, carrots, celery and onion - peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces

2 fennel bulbs - core and stems removed and cut into bite sized pieces (reserve stalks for making vegetable broth)

2 cups tomato's - cut into bite sized pieces

4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups red lentils - picked through rinsed and soaked for 15 minutes
1 15 ounce can coconut milk - about 2 cups
1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 heaping tbs yellow curry powder

2 1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground coriander

1 whole bay leaf

1/4 tsp ground pepper - plus more to taste

1 tsp salt - plus more to taste

Olive oil - for cooking

Cilantro - chopped (if desired)

4 cups cooked basmati or saffron rice for serving - if desired

In a large soup pot, on medium heat, add 1 tbs olive oil, a large pinch of salt and all vegetables, except for the tomatoes. Cover and stirring occasionally, cook until they are mostly tender (they should still have a little crunch to them) - about 12-15 minutes. Add tomato's and cook an additional 2 minutes.

Add broth, all the spices spices and lentils - stir well to incorporate all the spices. Cover and let simmer until lentils are tender - about 30 minutes. Add in coconut milk and season to taste as needed; simmer another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve. Top with fresh, chopped cilantro - if desired.

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