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Curried lentils with rice

Most of you know my stance on leftovers. I am not a fan. I will eat leftovers once, maybe twice, before I am totally sick of them and have to move on. Even then, I almost never eat leftovers again for dinner; I usually bring them to work for lunch.

Tonight, I had leftover curried lentils. It was a wonderful experience. I would do it again.

My mom knows what to do with a bag of lentils. They’re really cheap, super healthy and much quicker to cook than regular beans. Plus, they don’t require soaking! She fed our family of 6 many batches of lentils over the years. I asked her for her “recipe” a while back, and she laughed. (You wonder where I get my “little bit of this, little bit of that” cooking tendencies… now you know.) But because she’s my mother and she loves me, she pulled together some semblance of a recipe. It’s not much to look at, but this is just one of her delicious lentil concoctions.

Ingredients

My mom makes it a little different every time based on what’s in her pantry. If she had to scramble to actually come up with a “recipe,” then it’s probably ok if you have to mix and match or even omit a few ingredients.

  • olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • minced garlic (fresh, dried, whatever. I used 3 cloves of fresh garlic and mashed them through my garlic press.)
  • 2 tsp (or 1-2 Tbs, which is closer to what I normally do) curry powder, divided (or a mixture of cumin, chili, coriander, turmeric and paprika. But it’s way easier to just keep a container of “curry powder” on hand. By the way, my mom’s recipe says “some curry powder.” I didn’t measure when I made it last night. I had to really stretch to come up with an actual number. I DID THIS FOR YOU.)
  • bag of lentils (sorted and rinsed)
  • a few potatoes chopped into chunks (red or Yukon Gold are my favorite. Or you could be like me and notice you have no potatoes and just toss in a few handfuls of frozen hash browns instead.)
  • 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon chicken base, or 1 cube of that dried chicken stock stuff
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • a few shakes of pepper
  • enough water to cover everything by an inch
  • 2 handfuls of raisins (golden raisins are best, but regular raisins are fine too)

One thing I love about this recipe is that all the ingredients are items that most people typically have on hand already. Which is why I made it last night after coming home from vacation to a fridge with no milk, no eggs, no fresh veggies…

Directions

This is actually pretty quick and incredibly easy!

  1. Sauté the olive oil, onion, garlic and about 1/2 tsp of the curry seasonings in a large pot until tender and fragrant (a few minutes).
  2. Add everything else except the raisins and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer about 30-50 minutes (or until lentils and potatoes are tender). Stir occasionally and check to make sure there is enough water. Just taste the lentils every now and then after the 30-minute mark to see if they are mushy yet.
  3. Toss in the raisins once the lentils are tender and cook 5 more minutesto soften the raisins. Add more seasoning if needed.

It’s great by itself, but it’s fantastic over seasoned basmati rice. This meal has a really great, mild flavor, even if you’re not typically a fan of Indian-type food.

Pot of curried lentils

Curried lentils with basmati

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