Our family loves curry. Anything curry. In fact, though we like experimenting with cuisine from all cultures, I would say that Indian is one of our favorites.
Now, before I go on, let me say that this lentil recipe isn’t really curry – so don’t run away if you are not a curry fan.
And soon I hope to post a dish that DOES feature curry seasoning. And it is for sure my most requested recipe EVER.
Most Indian food, however, can be quite time consuming. So when I can get the taste of Indian spices in a fast, one pot meal, then I have the best of both worlds. ‘Cause these days, who has a lot of time to spend in the kitchen on elaborate steps? I have other things that need to be done. Like photo albums (please don’t ask how many years behind I am. I need to start a support group for moms with empty photo albums :-).)
This recipe is adapted from a dish simply called “Red Lentils” by Southern Living.
Blah name for a great dish.
It’s quick on its own, but really lickety-split in my pressure cooker. If you don’t have one of these yet, put it on your Christmas list now. I know, I should get better at planning meals, but it sure is nice to not have any idea what you are going to have for dinner at 5:30 and have dinner on the table at 6:15.
9 minutes in the pressure cooker.
Mom is happy and my family is happy too because they aren’t having popcorn and hard boiled eggs again because mom forgot to plan :-). (Did I mention that we never eat out and we don’t buy processed foods :-)?)
Indian Lentil Recipe
- 3-4 Tbsp coconut oil or other healthy fat. Nature’s Way is one good brand.
- 1 onion, diced (or ~ 2 Tbsp. minced plus a bit of water to reconstitute)
- 8 garlic cloves, minced (see my tip on The Easiest Way to Peel Garlic)
- 28 oz (3 1/2 cups) chicken broth (here is a great place to buy it. Vegetable broth is also fine – see my Homemade Vegetable Broth Mix recipe)
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes (of course, fresh is fine also)
- 2 1/2 cups red, brown, or green lentils, rinsed (you can use any kind of lentils.* The glycemic index of the reds is a bit higher so brown is a better choice if you’re watching carb intake. And make sure that you read my post on How to De-Gas Beans. It’s a must!)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper (optional. I left it out due to my youngest not liking spicy foods)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I pulled mine out from my freezer. See my Easiest Way to Preserve Herbs. You may also substitute 2-3 Tbsp dried basil.)
- Salt to taste (I recommend RealSalt and use about 2 tsp)
1. Melt oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat.
2. Add onion and garlic. Saute 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.
3. Add broth and next 5 ingredients.
4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. (Red lentils will cook quicker than brown or green.) If using a pressure cooker, bring to a boil. Place the lid on the cooker and bring up to high pressure. Cook for 9 minutes on high [you may need a few more minutes since the tomatoes counteract the cooking of the lentils slightly. Conversely, you could add the tomatoes after cooking the beans]. Let pressure come down naturally. Remove lid carefully.)
5. Stir in basil and salt to taste.
NOTE: The lentils in the photo are red lentils. Isn’t it interesting how they turn yellow when cooked?
Voila! Wonderful, fast, savory Indian cuisine in no time!
A Few Tips:
This dish tastes great served over rice (which, by the way, I can cook in 20 minutes flat in my pressure cooker. Woo-hoo!) I always use brown rice due to its higher nutritive qualities.
My Chat Masala spice mix tastes great on this. We have this on our table at all times and put it on everything. Except – ahem – desserts :-).
Next time I plan to add seasoned chicken pieces to this dish. Specifically, I think that sauteing small chunks of chicken in coconut oil and my Homemade All-Purpose Seasoning would be a wonderful addition.
Like curry dishes? See my recipe for Sweet Curry Powder – DIY – it is real winner and great money saver!
For some other great family favorite meal ideas, check out:
Do you have a favorite go-to dish when you forgot to plan dinner?
Please share for all of us sometimes-scattered moms!