What I Want to Make

January 6, 2009

Although I have been cooking and baking a lot in the past two weeks, it has been nice to have a break from the familiar. I essentially took two weeks off from my clients and just cooked whatever I wanted (or didn’t cook!) for my family. Every time I have that luxury, I immediately want to make red lentils. I actually have two favorite recipes for these little beauties and I could have sworn I already shared one of them. But after looking through past posts, I cannot find it anywhere.

Whenever it is time to pull these recipes out, I can never remember which one I like better. One has zucchini and coconut milk, the other has carrots, spinach and no coconut milk. Both have Indian spices and seasonings (lots of ginger and garlic), both are extremely tasty and good for you. Both are incredibly well accompanied by roasted cauliflower. If you think you don’t like cauliflower, please – oh please – give roasting it a try. Just cut a small head of cauliflower into bite size florets and toss with a sprinkling of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Toss once to make sure it browns evenly. You want it really brown. If you happen to have a dark colored baking sheet in your house, now is the time to use it. You will win friends and influence people with this dish. I kid you not.

But back to the lentils. I will give the recipe for the the carrot one today in the hopes I will unearth the other one from a past post at a later date. While this recipe does not call for coconut milk, I decided to add some and then, on tasting it, decided it was too sweet. So here is the original.

I found the other recipe – it’s here.

Curried Red-Lentil Stew with Vegetables
Adapted from
Bon Appetit
Serves 4-6

Serve this stew over basmati rice.

Vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped


1 (2 x 1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated

5 cloves of garlic, minced

5 cups water

1/2 tsp. curry powder
tsp. tumeric
tsp. cumin
1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed

3 medium carrots, quartered lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise

5 oz. baby spinach leaves

1 cup frozen peas, not thawed

cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat a heavy 4-5 quart pot over moderate heat and then add just enough oil to coat the bottom. Cook the onion with a sprinkling of salt, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8-10 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add spices and cook over low heat for 1 minute.

Stir in lentils and 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add carrots and another sprinkling of salt and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender and lentils have broken down into a coarse puree, 15-20 minutes.

Stir in spinach and peas and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in cilantro and season stew with salt and pepper. If necessary, add enough water to thin stew so that it can be ladled over rice.

(Stew without spinach or peas can be made and chilled, uncovered, until completely cooled, then covered for up to 5 days. Reheat over moderately low heat, thinning with water to a pourable consistency and stirring frequently, before adding remaining ingredients.)


  1. this looks so yummy and healthy! ive never actually had lentils with coconut milk, but my grandmother grinds up fresh coconut, green chilies and some cumin and adds the paste to the lentils in the end. I agree with you about the cauliflower – its great roasted!

    Comment by veggie belly — January 7, 2009 @ 12:34 am

  2. that sounds delicious! I love cauliflower but I’ve never roasted it- I will definitely be trying that out!

    Comment by Emily Rose — January 8, 2009 @ 5:41 am

  3. This recipe reminds me of a staple I used to make all the time – basically the same minus the ginger and the peas, and with a big squeeze of lemon at the end. I’d cook up a big batch and eat it in pita bread for lunch, on toast for breakfast (sometimes with an egg on top), and on rice for dinner. Tasty!

    Comment by jo — January 10, 2009 @ 10:25 am

  4. i made this (doubled it) but it seemed a little thin and i thought it would be thick since you said i may need to add water to thin it at the end. anyway, we LOVED it. since you said you tried it with coconut milk but thought it was too sweet, i served it with a sprinkle of shredded coconut on top and i thought it added a nice touch! anyway, i have a vegetarian blog as well and was wondering if you’d mind if i posted this recipe (and gave you credit, of course)???

    Comment by merathon — January 13, 2009 @ 8:14 pm

  5. Merathon, of course use the recipe! As for the consistency, you should be able to ladle it over rice, so pretty thin. You could add less water to it if you want it a little thicker. Thanks for visiting!

    Comment by Dana Treat — January 13, 2009 @ 11:13 pm

  6. thanks! as a side note, i made the roasted cauliflower tonight. i have always loved cauliflower, but i’ve never had it roasted before–mostly steamed or in curry dishes. this is now my FAVORITE way to eat it! it was FABULOUS!

    Comment by merathon — January 13, 2009 @ 11:19 pm

  7. I’ve never tried roasting cauliflower either, I’m definately going to try this. I love coconut milk and a bit of spice, so this is right up my alley! It seems this recipe is a cross b/w thai and indian sort of? Looks delicious!!

    Comment by Dana — February 8, 2009 @ 10:38 pm

  8. I am a new reader (as of this morning), and I’ve already found many things I’d like to try. I didn’t waste any time and started with this recipe tonight – really tasty! I’ll post on this soon. Thanks for sharing this one, and I’ll be back soon!

    Comment by The Ordinary Vegetarian — November 4, 2009 @ 4:40 am

  9. Hey! I’d just like to say that I have been following your site for a few months now. The recipe selection is great, and I love having a resource of delicious things to make for my vegetarian-ish boyfriend!

    I (very, very, very) recently started my own food blog and included my take on this particular recipe! I hope you check it out.

    Comment by cooking.baking.geeking — January 19, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

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