In an effort to save money I’ve been avoiding the grocery store and cooking from my pantry, of which I have to say I’m quite proud. It’s fully stocked and newly organized. It’s a walk-in pantry and one of my favorite features of the house. Sometimes, especially when the rest of my house has become cluttered, I just take a walk inside my pantry and stare at the neatly packed shelves.
The process of organizing the pantry was a lofty undertaking but a necessary one in order for me to take stock of what we actually had on hand, which turned out to be a lot. So, this week I’ve been cooking solely from the pantry, trying to use canned items, dried beans, oils and vinegars, etc. One item I’ve used twice in two different dishes is lentils.
Dish # 1 was lentils, spinach and chicken sausage. It was flavored with bay leaves and thyme and salt and pepper. Very hearty and healthy. I used brown lentils in this one. Recipe to come.
Dish # 2 was this delicious lentil curry. The dish reminded me of Indian Dahl because it utilizes some of the same flavors like garam masala, turmeric, garlic and ginger. I used a spicy curry paste to kick up the heat and added a splash of lime juice and cilantro to brighten the whole thing up at the end. It was spicy, warm and comforting, especially served with naan for dipping. I had to stop myself from going back for seconds…or, if I’m being honest, thirds.
1.5 cups of red lentils, rinsed
3 cups of water
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
2 teaspoons red curry paste, like this one
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1/2 a 14 oz can of coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped, or 1 tablespoon cilantro paste, like this one from Gourmet Garden
Juice of half a lime
Salt and pepper
1. Add the lentils and the 3 cups of water to a pot and turn up the heat to medium. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover until most of the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are tender, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and set to the side.
2. In a pan with deep sides, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sautee for 10 minutes. Next, add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
3. Add the curry paste, garam masala and turmeric and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
4. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and cooked lentils (no need to drain them). Stir to combine and let simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and add as needed.
5. Off the heat stir in the cilantro and lime juice.
These lentils are delicious on their own, or you can serve them with jasmine or basmati rice, with naan, or with both.