It’s recipe Friday! I love when I get to share a recipe I created with all of you. Sharing is something almost all of us enjoy. Especially when it’s something we are certain other people will love. I am a big fan of curries. I enjoy the different takes on these dishes you will find throughout the world. They can be spicy and savory, even a bit sweet, but always delicious.
My first introduction to curry was a Japanese style curry that a friend made in college. I fell in love with the first bite. It was what gave me the courage to try out a Thai restaurant across the street from my apartment and it opened my eye to a world of flavors I never knew existed. (I was afraid of spicy food at that time. I grew up in Minnesota where black pepper was considered spicy.) I’ve since expanded my horizons eve further and this curry recipe is more of an Indian style curry.
This recipe is simple and easy to prepare. It takes some time to cook but it freezes and stores well. I make this over the weekend and freeze it in meal size containers with a bit of rice and have it for lunch throughout the week. It will store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days but you can freeze it for up to a month.
The spiciness level of this dish is mild. You can kick it up or down by the number of chilis you add. I find that two is about perfect for me, enough heat that I can feel it but not so much heat my tongue feels like it’s going to burn off. My husband always adds hot sauce but his heat tolerance is through the roof. (He used to carry around a powder made from dried and ground up Thai chilis everywhere he went but it caused troubles when he forgot to remove it from his key chain before a flight.)
The flavor profile of this dish is layered through the spices used and the addition of mushrooms and tomato paste to add a “meatiness” that vegan dishes often lack. I puree the mushrooms into a paste after cooking because I feel the texture is better without chucks of them, but feel free to experiment with the texture yourself by adding other vegetables or skipping the puree step in the recipe.
Toasting spices will bring out the flavor and enhance the tastiness of your dish. It seems like an unnecessary step but I assure you taking the minute to toast your spices before adding them to the dish is well worth it. I use actual seeds for some of the spices and grind them in a mortar and pestle (spice grinder would work too) but you can use already ground spices if you don’t have a way to grind the spices yourself. Just know that grinding your own spices is a fresher, more intense flavor.
Browning the onions before you add them to the dish is another way to add depth of flavor to your food. It doesn’t take long but by browning them you add another level of “meatiness” to the dish. It’s similar to browning meat. Its’ why you should always brown your roast before you put it in the oven to cook. (That and the browning traps in juices, but there’s flavor in that maillard reaction I promise.)
However you make this dish, I promise you it will taste good. One of the common complaints about vegan food is how tasteless it is. Vegetables, beans, and grains require seasoning to taste good. It’s not a complicated process and with a few easy additions anyone can make vegan meals taste great. (Even those self-proclaimed awful cooks can do it. All it takes is a tiny bit of patience and the willingness to experiment.) So, give this lentil curry recipe a go and let me know what you think?
Vegan Lentil Curry
Prep Time: -10 min
Cook Time – 45-50 min
1 medium onion diced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
5-6 button mushrooms finely minced; about 1 ½ cups
1/2 cup red lentils
2 tsp Coriander seeds
1 cup brown lentils
1 tsp cumin seed
1 can coconut milk -about 16 oz
½ tsp whole cloves
8 cloves of garlic; minced
2 tsp turmeric
4 cups water
¼ tsp mustard seed
2 T vegetable oil
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 T dry white wine
¼ tsp cinnamon
1-2 minced red chili’s (Optional)
½ tsp salt
I am not a nutritionist, dietitian, or medical professional of any kind. I am just a regular person sharing my personal journey on a way to a healthier, more satisfying life. Consult with a medical professional before starting any new exercise or diet plan. Please see full disclaimer here.