Saturday, August 1, 2009

Spicy Lentils and Veggies

I found this while looking for ways to use zucchini. I made a ton of substitutions, which I will note below, and it was still yummy. I bet it would be amazing as written!

Spicy Lentil and Vegetable Dish


* 1 large white onion, peeled and chopped
* oil (for frying)
* 1 tablespoon curry powder
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger (or use 1 T fresh ginger, grated)
* 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
* 3 tomatoes, ripe, peeled and chopped
* 1 tablespoon brown sugar
* 14 ounces coconut milk (400 ml)
* 4 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2 cups red lentils (the split red lentils)
* 1 cup carrot, chopped (about 3 carrots)
* 2 cups water
* 1 cup zucchini, chopped (or butternut squash, in julienne strips)
* 1 cup peas (frozen is easiest)
* 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley (optional)


1. Heat a generous amount of oil in a medium pot (the spices absorb oil).
2. Fry the chopped onion, stirring a few times, for 5 minutes or until softened. Use medium heat.
3. Add the curry powder and spices. It's easiest and more practical to measure them before starting and mix them in a small bowl. (Curry, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, ginger, fennel seeds).
4. Stir well, and fry spices with the onion for about 2 minutes.
5. Add the peeled, chopped tomato and the sugar. (The tomatoes must be peeled and the sugar is essential).
6. As coconut milk separates in the tin, empty into a bowl and whisk until smooth.
7. Add the coconut milk, soy sauce, lentils, carrots and water to the pot with the spices.
8. Stir everything well, and bring to boil over higher heat. When it starts boiling, put the lid on the pot, almost closed but not quite -- tilted a little.
9. Reduce heat to low enough so pot simmers slowly. Simmer until lentils are tender and have absorbed the liquid -- about 20 - 25 minutes.
10. Add the zucchini and peas, stir through, and simmer just a minute or two, until the two last vegetables are barely done and not mushy.
11. Mound in a dish and keep warm until serving, or heat gently the next day. The flavor improves if made ahead of time.
12. Sprinkle over parsley for colour just before serving.

I didn't peel the tomatoes. Yeah, I ended up with little skins in the pot, but really, who cares?
I used xylitol instead of brown sugar.
I was out of fennel sees, so I threw in some anise seeds.
I thought that amount of soy sauce HAD to be a typo, so I used 4 TEASPOONS. Didn't seem undersalty to me.
I had a bunch of regular brown lentils, so just used those.
I left out the carrots and doubled the zuke, then I ended up leaving the peas out at the end because I was in a hurry. Bet it would be yummy with all the different veggies in there!
Mine took way longer for the lentils to simmer. The lid was barely tilted, but maybe still too much.

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