Curry in [a little more time than] a Hurry

In Bread, Indian, Lentils, Rice, Thai, Vegetables on February 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm

A couple of weeks ago, I made one of my go-to Indian dishes, chana masala (only with chawla – black-eyed peas).  Since then, I’ve ordered some Indian delivery, and have been relishing all of the leftovers.  Chana masala, mushroom saag, vegetable vindaloo.  I even went crazy and got a samosa (aka Indian egg roll).  Still on my curry kick, I wanted to create something that reminded me of all those flavors, only not having to shell out another 50 bux for take out.  I looked through my pantry and fridge, and decided to make a coconut curry lentil dish with a side of chard (similar to the one I made with the chawla masala).

Luckily, the one can of light coconut milk I found had 3 months left until expiration.  I guess I hadn’t cooked with it in a while!  I opened the can and poured the milk into a saucepan to bring to a boil.

I’m not 100% sure, but I’ve never really had coconut milk in Indian food.  I’ve actually only remembered using it and tasting it in Thai cuisine.  My first experience making a coconut curry was following the directions on a Thai Kitchen can of coconut milk.  The recipe included one of their products, a curry paste.  The paste is basically a mix of curry powder and chili paste, only they charge you 3 or 4 dollars to use their pre-made version.  I made my own this time :).  1.5 tsp yellow curry powder, 1/2 tsp chili paste, and 1/2 tsp tomato paste.

Using a fork, I mixed everything up until it created the paste.

When the milk came to a boil, I add the paste to the pan.

Then, to fully incorporate the paste, I whisked the milk and spices.

When everything was incorporated, the milk was a lovely saffron color.

Next, I washed and rinsed a cup of dry french lentils.  When they are dry, they are this wonderful greenish black color.  I added them to the pot, and let them get to a boil before covering and lowering the heat.

While the lentils began to cook, I chopped up some white onion, carrots, and a yellow bell pepper.  I would have liked to use a red one for color, but I didn’t have any on hand.

About 5 minutes had passed, and I added the veggies and some extra water (about a cup) to the pot, mixing everything together.

I raised the heat, and once it was back up to a boil, I lowered to medium low, covered, and let simmer for another 30 minutes.  I also stirred every 10ish minutes.

I washed and dried the bunch of chard.  There were 6 huge leaves, 2 each of yellow, pink, and red.

I chopped all the leaves up into bite size pieces.  When you look closer at the stem, you can really see the different varieties of the rainbow.

I started to saute the chard in a nonstick pan, just like last time.  Previously, I used lemon juice and whole lemon.  Since the curry was more of a creamy taste, I thought a sweeter citrus would better complement the lentils.  I had some leftover juicing oranges from when I attempted my fruit/vegetable cleanse, so I decided to use one of those.

This orange was definitely ripe!  I was able to squeeze out the juice with my bare hands right over the chard.

I used one half of the orange and cut up some pieces of the peel to add the the pan.

I gave it a quick toss, and then lowered the heat and covered for a couple more minutes.  By then, the lentils were tender and ready to be eaten.

I added the lentils and some chard to my plate.  It was a great combo!

For Nick, I created a bed for the curry with some leftover basmati rice from the take-out we ordered previously.  There was also half a piece of garlic naan left, so he had some of that, too!  I was super proud of him for using the elliptical after a long work day, so he got a nice treat for dinner :).

When I was ready to clean up after dinner, I noticed that there were A LOT of leftover lentils.  Either they expanded more than I expected, or we just didn’t eat as much as we usually do.  Or maybe the coconut milk made it that much more filling?  I ended up freezing about 3 portions worth, brought one for lunch today, and still have one more in the fridge.  I used up the last of my take-out veggies today, so will definitely need to bump up the produce portions in the next few dinners.  Maybe I will attempt to make Gomen this week?  I’ve really been obsessed with it, and I’m sure I could make it at home.  Plus, after 4 days of eating Indian food, I’m sure I’ll be sick of curry very shortly.


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