Yummy! Red Lentil Stew with Indian Flavors

For some reason, I find it almost impossible to exactly follow a recipe. Sometimes I substitute an ingredient, sometimes I change the spice level, and sometimes I try to make it more to my own tastes. In this case, I have a fantastic recipe that I have modified just to make it a bit easier. I’m certain that the recipe “as written” is fantastic but it requires a number of steps and uses a couple of cook pots. Here is my lazy version cooked in one pot – and I think it’s really delicious! Oh, and I also substituted some ingredients too. It’s just my way.

The original recipe is found in Fresh India by Meera Sodha. It’s a gorgeous vegetarian cookbook that I highly recommend.

The original recipe is Butternut squash, eggplant and red lentil sambhar.

Here are the ingredients for my version (which is entirely indebted to the Fresh India version!)

  • 1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek (omit if not easily availabile)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds or ground cumin (I really like the whole seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 finely chopped jalapeño
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small eggplant, cubed with skin on
  • 1 small zucchini, cubed
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes, puréed slightly in a blender
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar or agave syrup
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 teaspoonground red chili

There are 3 basic steps to my plan:

1. In a large soup pot cook the lentils in about 3 cups of water for 20 to 25 minutes until soft and losing their shape. Add water if needed.

2. To the cooked lentils, add the spices (fenugreek through mustard seeds). Add the vegetables   (ginger through tomatoes), cook for another 20 minutes or more, until vegetables are very soft.

3. Stir in salt, sugar, lime juice and red chili. Cook for about 5 more minutes to combine and heat through.

Done! Super simple. And really tasty!

It looks like a lot of ingredients. There are quite a few spices but they are easily measured and added to the soup.

I cut my vegetables in bite size pieces, a bit smaller than the original recipe.

I served my soup with a couple of slices of whole grain sourdough bread. Some naan bread and a green salad would also be delicious.

This is one of those recipes where the leftovers tasted even better.






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