Monday, July 23, 2012

Mango Lentil Curry


So, have you heard of lentils?  By now, I'm probably thinking your answer is yes.  Lentils, along with various other beans and grains are becoming ever so popular in the food world.  I think their popularity is a result of a variety of things; mainly though, the ever growing population of vegetarians.  Lentils are another great option for anyone looking to create a filling meal without the use a lot, or any meat plus they provide tons of nutrients. 


This recipe was my first in the world of lentils.  Not only did I use a new ingredient that I was unfamiliar with but I also used spices that I don't use on a regular basis.  I guess I dove into the world of lentils head first!  I must say, I'm so glad I took this leap.  Lentils, if you're not familiar with them, end up having the texture similar to black eyed peas once they are cooked.  The lentils were simmered to achieve a tender consistency then combined with a mixture of spices, sauteed onion, cilantro and mango.  The ingredients are then cooked a bit longer allowing the flavors to really develop and incorporate.  The end result is big, bold flavor and filling meal.  The garam masala provides a rich, bold flavor that has an undertone of cinnamon followed by a kick of spice.  The cilantro adds a bright, earthy flavor to this meal as well as a vibrant splash of color.  The mango adds a fresh sweetness that helps to cut the spice brought on by the garam masala.  All of the flavors combine together perfectly and compliment each other.  I served this over rice which provided a nice, starchy and almost buttery addition to this meal. 

This was a meal that was initially out of my comfort zone for so many reasons, but I'm so glad I tried it.  I can't wait to make many, many more recipes utilizing lentils but also recipes that incorporate seasonings and spices that I don't commonly use.  This meal was a hit with our whole house, even Tucker couldn't get enough!     

Mango Lentil Curry
Ingredients:

1 Tbsp oil
1 Cup lentils, washed and picked over
1 Medium, ripe mango, peeled and chopped
1/2 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 Tsp cumin
1 Medium onion, diced
1/3 Cup cilantro, washed and chopped

Directions:

Combine 3 cups of water and lentils in a large saucepan.  Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes; until lentils are tender.

Meanwhile, add the oil in a large skillet and place over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the onions and saute for 3-4 minutes, until onion begins to turn translucent.  Add the garam masala, salt, pepper and cumin and stir to combine.  Cook an additional 2-3 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.

Once the lentils have become tender, add the mano and cilantro and stir to combine.  Add an additional cup of water, stir and bring to a simmer.  Allow the mixture to simmer for 30-40 minutes, until lentils are completely tender.

Remove from heat, stir and slighlty mash some of the lentils, if desired and allow to stand for 5 minutes. 

Serve with whatever you desire, I served with rice.

Recipe source: barely adapted from Branny Boils Over, inspired by The Taste Space    

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