red lentil coconut curry

I meant to tell you about our lunch yesterday (which was also our supper the night before and our lunch today): a curry made with red lentils that go all soft and tender so the lentil haters in my family don’t have any texture issues to rebel against. Coconut is the background flavor, and there are peas and sweet potatoes to bulk it up. Cauliflower would be tasty, too, but I didn’t have any.

We eat it over rice like curry is intended, but I think it would be mighty fine served in a bowl solito—a thick, creamy, nourishing stew, perfect for counterbalancing the sweets that flood our kitchens this time of year.

The kids like their curry (though to be honest, they aren’t huge fans of this dish—they prefer this one) with raisins and sunflower seeds, but I take mine with a side of briefly sauteed spinach and a sprinkling of coconut. Yogurt is quite nice, too.

Red Lentil Coconut Curry
Adapted from Simply in Season

1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or butter or canola oil)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder
½ teaspoon each turmeric, cumin, black pepper
1/4 teaspoon each red pepper flakes, and cinnamon
2-3 curry leaves (or bay leaves)
1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
1/4 cup soy sauce (I used tamari)
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups red lentils, rinsed
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped in cubes (about 4 cups)
2 cups peas
1-2 teaspoons salt

Put the lentils in a medium-sized saucepan, cover with four cups of water, and bring to a boil before reducing the heat to medium-low and simmering for 15 minutes, or until very tender. Set aside.

Put the sweet potato in another medium-sized saucepan and cover with water (but just barely—no more than 1 cup) and bring to a boil before reducing the heat to medium and simmering until almost fork-tender. Add the peas and cook for another five minutes. Set aside.

Melt the coconut oil in a large soup pot and add the onion. Saute for about five minutes, until tender but not browned. Add the garlic, ginger, and spices (down through the curry leaves) and saute for several more minutes, stirring steadily. Add the coconut milk, soy sauce, and tomato sauce and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. Add the cooked lentils and vegetables (with their broth) and salt. Stir to combine and heat through. Taste to correct seasonings.

Serve curry over rice with desired toppings: sunflower seeds, cashews, grated coconut, raisins, yogurt, etc. A banana might be really nice, though I’ve never tried it.

Yield: an awful lot

This same time, years previous: chocolate truffle cake


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