24 March 2015

Quickest-ever Indian food: Curried Red Lentils with Greens

In keeping with my self-professed love for rice and beans, I'm posting this easy, fast recipe for curried lentils. It's comforting but also satisfies your craving for Indian take out (if you're like me and there's no place around!), and it's technically rice and beans, but these little red lentils break down into a chunky, potato-y sauce in no time.  Add whatever other vegetables you want to this; I can imagine roasted cauliflower, potato chunks, or okra would be great. Don't swap out a different kind of lentils, though, or you'll never get a sauce, just highly seasoned, intact lentils.

Curried Red Lentils with Greens

Serves 6-8

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ to 1 whole jalapeno, minced (depending on desired spiciness)
1 quart water
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
2 cups red lentils
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro stems, plus chopped leaves for garnish
½ lb. kale or mustard greens, coarsely chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
Cooked rice for serving

In a large saucepan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.  Add the cumin, turmeric, curry powder, and onion and cook, stirring constantly, until onion just begins to soften, about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, jalapeno, and about a teaspoon of salt and continue to cook until onion is soft and mixture is fragrant, about 6 minutes.

Add the water, coconut milk, lentils, and cilantro stems and bring to a simmer.  Reduce to medium heat, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.  Add the kale and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Serve over cooked rice with lemon wedges and chopped cilantro.