Spinach, Red Lentil, and Green Bean Curry

If you’re in the market for a warm vegetable stew with luscious spices which will reheat well, then I’ve got a dish for you. This is a very mild curry (which you could heat up with some cayanne and/or crushed red pepper if that’s your preference) and it has notes of cinnamon from the garam masala. If that’s not your thing, you could use your favorite pre-made curry spice mixture rather than what’s listed here. This dish can easily stand on its own as a vegetarian main, or be served alongside some lovely spiced yogurt chicken (as Neil and I had it).

Ingredients:

 

1 cup red lentils

1/4 cup tomato puree

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon ground dried turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths

1 cup mushrooms, sliced thickly

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (1 inch) piece fresh ginger root, grated

4 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

4 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped

1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

 

Directions:

 

  • Rinse the lentils well and place them in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Drain and set aside
  • In a bowl, stir together the tomato puree and yogurt. Season with garam masala, turmeric, cumin, and chile powder
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat
  • Add the onion, green beans and mushrooms; cooking until the onion begins to brown
  • Add in the garlic and ginger and stir for a minute- until you really begin to smell them
  • Stir in the spinach; cook until it’s dark green and wilted
  • Add the yogurt mixture and stir until incorporated
  • Mix in the tomatoes and cilantro
  • Stir the lentils and garbanzo beans into mixture until well combined and heated through, about 5 minutes
Curry

The inspiration for this dish came from this recipe.

Chicken cauliflower curry

Alas, this dish has no cute story to go with it.  Just a fantastic flavor profile, and lots of textures.  It’ll make your home smell wonderful and you’ll be wanting to sample straight from the pan all the while it cooks.  And that’s not a bad idea either.  This way you can track the progress of the flavor meld of the ingredients.  It’s great to witness that happening.

I call for the chicken to be added back in nearer to the end of the cooking time because if it sits in the pan throughout then it will get tough and chewy.  That would be a horrible thing to do to a perfectly good chicken breast 😉

Ingredients:

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

5 small red potatoes, cubed, with the skins on

½ head of cauliflower, trimmed into bite-sized pieces

3-4 Tbsp hot curry paste

1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes

1 cup water

1 cup cooked lentils

Directions:

  • Sauté the chicken breast, then remove it from the pan and set aside
  • Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the potatoes and cauliflower and sauté for another 5 minutes
  • Stir in the curry paste and cook for a minute
  • Add tomatoes and water and simmer for half an hour
  • Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add that and the cooked lentils to the mixture and let simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered
  • Season with salt and pepper to your taste.  Serve in large bowls.  Naan makes a great accompaniment

J

Chicken curry

This curry recipe is fantastic!  It’s sweet and it’s spicy, and it’s even better left over.  I think that when I make it again I’ll add some raisins to it, and maybe some kind of seeds or nuts too, just for a bit of texture.  You could serve this as a main dish with some sides, or you could have it over rice, or in a dish with a piece of naan to sop up the wonderful sauce- and it really is wonderful.

Ingredients

2 onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of ground cloves

Pinch of ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 cup tomato sauce

Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks

Salt

1 cup water

Garam masala

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

Directions

  • In a medium, cast-iron fry pan, heat the olive oil. Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and cook over low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute
  • Add the onion and garlic and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is golden brown

  • Add the turmeric and tomato sauce and simmer over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened

  • Season the chicken breast chunks with salt and add them to the pan. Coat the chicken with the sauce. Add the water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring a few times, until the chicken is white throughout, about 10 minutes

  • Season the chicken curry with salt

  • Plate the chicken and sauce. Sprinkle garam masala on top, garnish with the cilantro and serve.

J

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Being in the dead of winter makes me want to make soups and stews like nobody’s business, but that can get old after a while (in my opinion).  This particular soup stuck out because it wasn’t another way to use a winter squash, and it wasn’t insert poultry here noodle, and it had an interesting twist with the curry.  It also happens to be vegetarian, can be vegan, and is super-healthy.

This soup comes out flavorful and thick.  The garnish would make for a great anytime snack too.  Toasted curried sunflower seeds- how can you go wrong?

Ingredients

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

3 1/2 cups milk, divided (soy or unsweetened almond milk can be substituted)

3 teaspoons mild curry powder, divided

1 cup chopped yellow onion

3 cloves garlic, chopped

5 cups (about 1 pound) cauliflower florets (or 1 head)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a medium bowl, toss sunflower kernels with 1 teaspoon milk and 1 teaspoon curry powder. Spread out on a small parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake until toasted and fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes; set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup of milk in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add cauliflower, remaining 2 teaspoons curry powder and remaining milk, cover and simmer until cauliflower is very tender, about 40 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning with more curry powder if you like. Working in batches, carefully purée in a blender until smooth. Transfer to bowls, garnish with sunflower seeds and serve.

We enjoyed this with roasted vegetable couscous dressed with balsamic vinegar and green salads for sides.  It was tasty and incredibly filling.

J