Like other legumes, lentils are low in fat and high in protein and fiber, but they have the added advantage of cooking quickly. Lentils have a mild, often earthy flavor, and they're best if cooked with assertive flavorings. Before cooking, always rinse lentils and pick out stones and other debris. Unlike dried beans and peas, there's no need to soak them. Lentils cook more slowly if they're combined with salt or acidic ingredients, so add these last.
Red Lentil Curry
This is a rich and hearty lentil curry, great as a main meal rather than as a side dish like the more traditional Indian dhal. Don't let the ingredient list faze you, this really is an easy dish to make. This dish is great served with basmati rice.
Original Recipe Yield 8 servings
- 2 cups red lentils
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons curry paste
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ginger root, minced
- 1 (14.25 ounce) can tomato puree
- Wash the lentils in cold water until the water runs clear (this is very important or the lentils will get "scummy"), put the lentils in a pot with water to cover and simmer covered until lentils tender (add more water if necessary).
- While the lentils are cooking: In a large skillet or saucepan, caramelize the onions in vegetable oil.
- While the onions are cooking, combine the curry paste, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, salt, sugar, garlic, and ginger in a mixing bowl. Mix well. When the onions are cooked, add the curry mixture to the onions and cook over a high heat stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato puree and reduce heat, allow the curry base to simmer until the lentils are ready.
- When the lentils are tender drain them briefly (they should have absorbed most of the water but you don't want the curry to be too sloppy). Mix the curry base into the lentils and serve immediately.
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