Thursday, July 21, 2011

Curried Coconut Lentils

I made this to get rid of some leftover fridge and pantry ingredients, but it's definitely going to become a part of the regular meal rotation. This curry can work as a side dish or a main dish--it's pretty hearty especially when served over rice. Don't use canned tomatoes for this; the breaking down of fresh tomatoes is an essential part of flavor development here.

Total time: about an hour
Makes 6 servings

1 large onion, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp curry powder
4 green cardamom pods
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp dry mustard
½ tsp cayenne
½ tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp ground allspice
2 ½ C light vegetable broth
½ C water
1¼ C brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
4 carrots, diced
1 C diced tomatoes
½ C frozen green peas
7 oz coconut milk (about half of a can)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, season with salt, and cook until the onions soften, stirring frequently so the garlic does not brown. Add all of the spices and cook, still stirring, until they are quite fragrant and toasted. Add the tomatoes, season with salt, and cook until they break down completely and the liquid in the pan has evaporated.

Now add the broth, water, and lentils, cover the pan and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, then add the carrots. Remove the lid and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the carrots and lentils are tender and there is just a bit of liquid left in the pan. Add the frozen peas and coconut milk, season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 7-8 minutes as the flavors blend. Serve by itself or over rice.


  1. 1. this looks amazing. 2. where the heck do you find cardamom pods? Are they the kind of thing where you have to buy 5 lbs of them at a time?

  2. Megan,

    You can find them at Indian groceries. I think I bought a package of 4 oz or something small like that. They were pretty cheap (probably $2-3). If you can't find them around, you can order them from Penzeys:

    You could substitute ground cardamom and use maybe 1/2 tsp or so. I usually break the pods and grind my own with a mortar and pestle because the flavor is so much more intense.