October 21, 2010

Texas Thai Lentil Curry

This recipe was a special request from LB, who has been with me in many spice-filled kitchens, and who has heard the midnight saute and tasted dozens of trials and errors. When we were in school, this was one of my go-to recipes because it is cheap, incredibly easy, delicious, and makes for great left-overs. Could it get any better? It's still one of my staples but I've had to make a couple of revisions since finding lemongrass and red lentils can be a bit impossible in Texas. Many hats off to RW and SCL for posting the root recipe for this curry in the Dialogue Cookbook. I am forever indebted to you.

1 medium-sized yellow onion (chopped)
4 cloves of garlic (minced and  trimmed)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. crushed red pepper (more or less, depending on your spice level)
2 cups lentils
4-5 cups veggie broth (I highly recommend Better than Bouillon brand)
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 regular-sized can of coconut milk
1 large, beautiful tomato (chopped)
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin
 fresh cilantro

Bring the lentils and broth to a boil and then cover and reduce heat. Cook until soft (about 30 minutes).
Put some rice on. I like to use Jasmine with this recipe, and mix in a heap of cilantro when it's all cooked up.

Saute the onions and crushed red pepper in a large frying pan over medium heat until onions are soft. Add the garlic and saute for another  couple of minutes. Next, add you spice mix (turmeric, coriander, and cumin) and fry for 5 seconds being careful not to burn your spices. Now add the tomato paste and a couple tablespoons of water. After a few seconds, add in the coconut milk and the  tomato. Stir melange and let the flavors mix together for  a few minutes. By this time, your lentils should be ready. Add them to the sauce and let the  whole mixture simmer for 8-10 minutes. Taste and adjust spices as necessary. Your rice should be done now, so mix in a ton of cilantro and start fixing up the plates! Serve with a slice of lime and a dollop of unsweetened soy-yogurt if you can find some!