Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Whole New World

Growing up, I wasn't exposed to a wide variety of food types. The fare we ate was mainly Italian, American, a few German dishes, and Chinese take-out. Not that there's anything wrong with those foods, but as a young adult I wasn't terribly adventurous when it came to foods from ethnicities I wasn't familiar with.

But I learned to cook, I started to feel too settled always making the dishes I had grown up eating. The more I cooked and the more I understood ingredients, how they were used, and the flavors they would lend a dish, I yearned to step outside my box more and explore unfamiliar flavors.

And this dish has two ingredients I hadn't used at all before I made this dish: curry powder and coconut milk. What a great first venture into using these ingredients!

I absolutely loved this dish. As all great soups and stews, it warmed me from the inside out. The flavors brought me great warmth as well. I particularly loved the contrast of the heat of the curry and jalapeño with the cool flavor of the Greek yogurt. And it's all topped with the fresh kick of the cilantro.

All in all, this one is a winner.

Indian-Spiced Lentils and Lamb
Recipe from Cooking Light

Makes 4 servings
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 6 ounces lean ground lamb
  • 1 teaspoon red curry powder *
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper **
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup brown lentils
  • 2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped ***
  • 1/4 cup 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves

  1. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl. Add lamb and next 4 ingredients (through red pepper); sauté 4 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add onion, carrot, and jalapeño; sauté 4 minutes or until lamb is browned. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in tomato paste; sauté 30 seconds.
  2. Add lentils; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in broth and next 3 ingredients (through tomatoes); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 40 minutes or until lentils are tender. Ladle about 1 cup lentil mixture into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon yogurt and 1 tablespoon cilantro.

Notes from the Chef:
* Unfortunately my market didn't have red curry powder, so I used regular curry powder.
** I was afraid of making the dish too spicy. So I used smoke paprika instead of ground red pepper. Paprika offers less heat, but still gives the dish that deep, red color.
*** I used diced tomatoes, just to save myself the mess of chopping the whole ones.

No comments:

Post a Comment