Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lentil Quinoa Curry


It was my birthday last Saturday. I'd been dreading it for months because unfortunately I turned 35 - which in my book is officially old. I don't feel 35; I'm not sure I even look it. But it's crept up on me somehow and I've had a hard time shaking the feeling that I'm late for something.

M had to go out of town for work and all my friends are back home so I was by myself. I was on the verge of pulling the covers over my head and waiting for it to be over but instead had a fairly excellent solo day. I sat in the sun on a park bench and ate a big lemon bar from a local bakery for lunch. I sipped a glass of champagne later that night at a nearby restaurant and ate a gorgeous cheese platter consisting of a wedge of Spanish blue, a ruby-stained poached pear, rustic crackers, truffled honey and dried fig.

The next day I woke up and felt different. Not anxious, or lonely, or fretting but instead really quite happy. I know that my life is beyond good and there's nothing I can do about finally reaching my scary age. It is what it is. I felt energised, and cooked and cleaned my way through the day.

My new, older (maybe wiser) self invented this quick curry out of odds and ends in the pantry. It's healthy, filling and topped with crunchy bits of apple, pistachio and coconut. It might seem a bit strange not to simmer the lentils and quinoa together with the other ingredients but I know that those lentils can turn their cooking liquid murky and I wanted to preserve the bright orange curry. I ate a big bowl of it with warm slices of naan and froze the rest of it for future lunches.

For 4 servings:
  • 3/4 cup french lentils
  • 1/3 black or red quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sweet curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 14 ounces (400 ml) light coconut milk
  • 14 ounces (400 ml) stock or water
  • 1 small crisp, tart apple, diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios
In a medium pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add the lentils and quinoa and briskly simmer until just tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the curry powder, garam masala, and salt. Stir for a minute more. Stir in the coconut milk and brother and turn up the heat to bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer.

When the lentils and quinoa are done cooking, add it to the curried broth and simmer for 5 minutes more. Taste, and season with more salt if needed. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped apple, pistachios and coconut. Serve with warm naan. 

1 comment:

Eftychia said...

This dish looks delicious. I like the addition of the coconut milk! Thanks for sharing!