I. Love. Indian. Food.
I Could eat it any day, any where, any time. In a box with a fox wearing sox. You get the idea. Luckily for me, the majority of Indian food is naturally gluten free – obviously not including incredible nan, gulab jamuns and samosas but you can’t have everything!
Anyway. With no recipe tweaking necessary (yay!) this incredible lentil dish just so happened to be vegetarian and gluten free and the perfect thing to whip up for my best friend and I on Valentine’s Day (we’re both in long-distance relationships right now. Tough, but that’s what Indian food, red wine, and childhood friends are for!). I found the recipe here and only changed a few things to suit my needs. First of all, we had green lentils in the pantry rather than red and I figured they’re basically the same so why not? For the record, I have now done my google researching and here are the main differences: green lentils take longer to cook (45 min. rather than 30 min.) than red lentils and hold their shape even after they are cooked. The “mushiness” of red lentils is what makes them so desirable for Indian cuisine, but I found that my dish still came out superbly with the green lentils, I just adjusted the cooking time.
The second thing I reeeeally had to adjust in this recipe was the spice level! This curry was sweet and aromatic but 3/4 tsp. each of cayenne and chili powder did wonders for the overall taste and took everything up a notch. We did not have basmati rice, which is, of course, preferable, so instead we went a little exotic and made coconut rice to accompany this curry. While coconut rice is better for Thai food and Thai curries, it was still nice with this dish and worth experimenting with if you’ve never had it before. That’s what the kitchen is for afterall!
So without further ado, here is the recipe I ended up with. Note that I used (gluten-free) chicken stock instead of vegetable stock but if you’re cooking for vegetarians it is an easy change to make.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, chopped into fine pieces
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 inch piece ginger peeled and grated into fine pieces
- 3 tbsp korma
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds (keep them whole)
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3/4 tsp chili powder
- 1 c green lentils (or red)
- 32 oz chicken stock
- 1 large head cauliflower, cleaned and separated into chunks
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed
For the coconut rice:
- 1 c rice
- 1 can light coconut milk, with water added to reach total of 2 cups
Directions for curry:
- Chop, peel and/or grate all vegetables, ginger, and garlic. In the bottom of a large pot, heat the olive oil and cook the onions until they start to change color (roughly 5 min.)
- Add the garlic and ginger and continue to stir.
- Add lentils, sweet potato, chicken stock, spices and korma sauce to the pot and put the lid on, simmering for 30 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower and continue to cook another 15 – 20 min. Curry will thicken and lentils will be cooked thoroughly. The sweet potato may become mushy and blend in and cauliflower will be tender.
- Serve with coconut rice or basmati and enjoy!
- Bring 2 cups of coconut milk/water mixture to a boil in a pot. Add rice and simmer for 15 minutes, as per usual. Check rice, stir and cook 5 minutes more.