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Lentil Stew with Potatoes and Warm Indian Spices

indianspices

Here is a gentle Indian lentil stew, its flavors soft, fragrant, and comforting. But by all means, stir in some cayenne pepper if you are looking for some excitement.

You Need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon good quality garam marsala (see the Cook’s Tip)
1 cup diced carrots 1 large potato, peeled and cut into small cubes 2 cups brown lentils, rinsed
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or light coconut milk)
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup frozen defrosted peas
Salt and pepper to taste
Yogurt, for garnish

To Make (4-6 servings):

In your soup pot, heat a drizzle of oil and fry the onions until wilted and golden, then add the garlic, ginger, and spices and stir for a moment until they are fragrant. Be very careful not to burn the spices, as this will make them bitter.

Take half of this mixture and set it aside for later. Add the carrots, potato, lentils, tomatoes, coconut milk, and stock. Let the stew simmer, without a lid, for about 30 to 40 minutes until the potatoes and lentils are tender.

Fold in the remaining onion-and-spice mixture. Add the peas to the stew last to keep their brilliant color. Simmer for another few minutes until the stew is heated through. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a dollop of yogurt, warm naan bread or pita, and perhaps some brown rice, plain or cooked with a cardamom pod.

Cook’s Tip:

Garam is the Indian word for “warm” or “hot,” and the blend of dry-roasted, ground spices known as garam marsala (gah-RAHM mah-SAH-lah) adds a sense of “warmth” to both palate and spirit. You can find a blend in the spice aisle of any well-stocked grocery store.

Leftover Tip:

The next day, put the stew into a blender and blend until smooth. Then thin it with a bit of milk, broth, or coconut milk so it becomes a soup and give it a fancy new name, like Princess Jahanara’s Wedding Soup.

 

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