Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Potato and Lentil Curry

A few years back when I was still in undergrad, I studied abroad for a year.  Wales is a beautiful country and full of wonderful people and places.  (Also, Doctor Who is filmed there.  Just FYI.)  While there I became good friends with my buddy VK, who was also an international student and hailed from Mumbai.  While VK's culinary  talents were restricted to boiling water and swishing rice and veggies around in a pan, his mother was more than willing to teach us how to make delicious Indian food.

Also, he's pretty good at being a pirate.  

Ruchi came to visit us for a month.  Well, she came to visit VK for a month, but we definitely appreciated the home-cooked meals we got by association.  Ruchi taught us how to make some of her (and VK's) favorite dishes.  While this dish is not one of the meals she taught me to make, many of the procedures are the same.  I'll be sure to share some of Ruchi's recipes next semester.  However, Ruchi did teach us how to make chapatis, which are excellent with this dish.  A link is included near the end.

Miss you, Ruchi!

I know some think that Indian food is difficult to make, but I hope to ease those concerns with this entry.  It is a delightful cuisine full of healthy vegetables and spices.  The hardest thing to cooking Indian in the States is finding some of the ingredients, particularly the spices.  It may be in your best interest, time and money-wise, to buy the harder-to-find spices online.

Potato and Lentil Curry

1 c. uncooked lentils (red or Dal works best)
2-3 potatoes, peeled and cubed 
1 onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs. minced garlic
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
3 large tomatoes, pureed 
2 Tbs curry powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbs ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp ginger powder

Rinse lentils (I used Dal) under cold water until clean; without a good rinse they get filmy or scummy.  Cook lentils in boiling water until soft to eat.  This can take 30-50 minutes based on type of lentil.  Drain water and set aside.

Water will run clear during rinsing when all the scummy-crap is gone.  

While the lentils are cooking, take your peeled and cubed potatoes (I used reds) and saute in a large pan with a tablespoon of vegetable oil on medium-high heat.  Season with salt, pepper, and cumin if desired.  Cook until approximately 75% done; it will finish cooking in the curry sauce.  Turn off heat and set aside.  

Just give it a stir every once in a while.

In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil on medium-high heat.  Cook onions and garlic until softened.  Add pureed tomatoes and spices and mix well.  You may need to add a few tablespoons of water.  Let cook on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes then reduce to a simmer.  Taste-check sauce and add salt, sugar, or cumin to taste.  Let simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in cooked lentils and potatoes.  Let simmer another 15 minutes and serve.

I like to put all the spices in a bowl so I can easily add them when its time.  Also, it looks pretty.


Simmering away, and almost ready.  

Serve with naan, chapati, or rice.  Here is a recipe for chapati.  Consider an Indian Pale Ale if you are of age; milk or mango juice will also be nice.

Share with friends.

- The Pink One

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