Friday, October 1, 2010

Coconut-Lentil Stew

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about the weather in LA recently.  It has been VERY HOT and NEARLY APOCALYPTIC.  I do not like it.  I bought an air conditioner.

Wednesday evening, you could feel the tension in the air.  Now, in Minnesota, this happens about every other week, but in CA, such a changement de temps is much rarer.  Out of nowhere, it started raining, for--literally--the first time in about seven months.  This rain didn't last very long, but it was nevertheless impressive.  Look what it did to the sky:

Anyway, a change of weather, no matter how small, can seem significant in relation to what you had before.  The Voracious Vegan (who lives in in Saudi Arabia) writes about how Pumpkin Spice Cookies suddenly appeal to her once the temperature drops below 100.  Well, just the same, once this front broke (even though it's really still far too hot for October), it became appropriate to make lentil stew--warm, thick, hearty lentil stew.  I used a recipe from 101cookbooks, but I simplified it according to the ingredients I didn't have.  The coconut milk and the raisins (don't worry, not too many!) make this a little more interesting than your typical lentil stew.  Then, at the end, I added mint (not pictured, unfortunately), which I think worked really well with the other flavors.  I should also note that the curry powder I used (from Mark Bittman's recipe) is not your typical curry powder--it's a bit more like garam masala than storebought curry powder.  I kept an eye on the liquid and didn't add so much that I had soup instead of a dryer, stewy dish... because it may be cool enough for lentils, but soup seemed a little less appealing, given that temperatures are still in the high 80s.  :(

Coconut Lentil Stew
(adapted from 101cookbooks)

1 cup lentils, rinsed
3.5 c water
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 TB fresh peeled and minced ginger
1 TB curry powder
1 TB olive oil
1/2 yellow onion
2-3 TB raisins
2-3 TB tomato paste
1/2-1 c coconut milk
1/2-1 tsp fine grain sea salt
chopped fresh mint

1. Put lentils, water, carrot, and ginger in a large pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a smaller skillet or pot, toast the curry powder, dry, over medium low heat for a minute or two.  Set the curry powder aside.
3. Heat the oil; saute onion and raisins for 5-10 minutes, then add tomato paste and saute a few minutes more.
4. When lentils are soft, add toasted curry powder, saute mixture, coconut milk, and salt.  Simmer 20 minutes more.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Serve hot, garnished with chopped mint.  Serves about 4-5.

1 comment:

PhotogFauxPas said...

the sky was pretty wild that evening, wasn't it?