January 8, 2011

Sweet Potato & Lentil Curry

I know all the other Californians out there agree this cold season is ridiculous. Yeah, it's sunny and beautiful but those bright blue skies are deceiving. What is this 40 something temperature doing here? We San Franciscans have been good little recyclers and even have those compost boxes stinking up our kitchens! C'mon climate change, give us a break. Most likely we all just forget that yes, we always nearly freeze this time of year and we're just wusses since we're spoiled for the other 10 months. 
Here's a recipe that has been keeping me warm this winter(along with piles of blankets, scarves and a crappy wall heater). 

Sweet Potato & Lentil Curry
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1/4-1/2 teaspoon, chili flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala*
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 dried bay leaf
1 cup brown or French lentils(I used brown but French ones hold up better)
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 hot cup water
1 large sweet potato, cut into roughly 1 inch cubes
salt and pepper to taste
Lemon slices 
Naan bread

Heat a medium sized soup pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent. 
Throw in the garlic and ginger and let them cook about a minute. Next, add the chili flakes, garam masala, tumeric, coriander, cumin and bay leaf. 
Let the spices soak into the mixture then add the lentils, stock and water. 
Bring to a boil then turn heat down to a simmer. Let the mixture cook covered, for 10 minutes then add the sweet potato cubes. Cover and cook until the lentils and potato are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon and some naan to soak. The results are filling and although very spiced, not spicy(unless you add more chili flakes).

*Garam masala is a beautiful blend of ground spices found in many Indian dishes. It's wonderfully fragrant with a mix of what we Americans dictate as sweet spices(like cinnamon and cloves) and savory spices(like pepper). I picked up a rather large bag at Cost Plus World Market. 

Stay warm! -J

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