Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Lentil and Potato Stew

Recipe shared by bobmark on the CLBB
1 cup lentils
4 cups water
1 tsp salt (optional)
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large potatoes -- peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes (2 to 3)
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne or to taste
Salt to taste (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 large tomatoes -- peeled and chopped, or 2 cups canned chopped tomatoes (I use crushed, and have even used sauce in a pinch)
2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp sugar or honey
Water -- if necessary

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils, water, salt (if desired0 and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to med-low, and simmer the lentils until they are just soft, about 30 minutes.Do not drain the lentils! Discard the bay leaf, then set the lentils aside.
2. In a large dutch oven or saucepan with a nonstick surface, heat the butter or margarine and oil briefly, and add the potatoes. Sprinkle them with the turmeric, cayenne, salt (if desired), and pepper. Cook the potatoes, tossing them, over medium heat, for about five minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes, the reserved lentils and their cooking liquid, the garam masala and the sugar or honey to the potatoes.
4. Cook the stew over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes (I go a bit longer until I reach a thickness I like), stirring the mixture from time to time and adding water if the stew seems to be too dry.
Serving suggestion: Serve with a cucumber raita or a mixed green salad and brown or white rice or an Indian rice with peas.
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NOTES : Notes: I almost serve this over brown rice with a dollop of either low fat sour cream (usually) or yogurt on top and as many different chutneys as I can find on the side! By all means use the three potatoes, really big ones, to stretch the dish. I also increase the spices on the potatoes because I like the play of the various flavors, turmeric for sweetness, cayenne for heat, and salt for...well...saltiness, which I think typify the best Indian dishes.
Brody also points out that you can make a reasonable facsimile of garam masala by combining equal amounts of cardamon, cumin, cinnamon, coriander with smaller amounts of ground cloves and black pepper.