Green Lentil Curry

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This is my go-to lentil curry recipe. I’ve made it several times now and it always makes for a filling dinner and delicious leftovers for lunch the next day. It’s also vegetarian! Actually, it’s probably vegan if you serve without yogurt.

A couple things I’ve found to be important as I made and re-made this recipe over the past year:

– Having the right spices makes a big difference. The first few times I made this, I didn’t have cumin seeds or coriander. They were a little pricey and not at my usual grocery store. But when I finally got some and added them to this dish, I figured out what I’d been missing the whole time.

– Eat with full-fat yogurt! Non-fat is not as good,of course ūüôā Full-fat everything!

– Curry is hard to photograph. Especially this color curry.

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Recipe (from here)

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, mashed to a paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 1/4 cups dried green lentils
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 ounces green beans, cut into 3/4-inch lengths
  • 4 ounces kale, stemmed and leaves finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  1. In a small bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, coriander and ground cumin. Stir in 1/4 cup of water to make a paste. In a small skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the cumin seeds and cook over moderately high heat for 5 seconds, just until sizzling. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the spice paste and let cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until thick, about 1 minute longer.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the lentils with the turmeric and 5 cups of water; bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are barely tender. Add the green beans, kale, carrot, three-fourths of the cilantro and the cayenne and season with salt. Cook until the lentils and vegetables are tender, 15 minutes. Scrape in the spice paste and the remaining cilantro. Simmer for 5 minutes, then serve with rice, naan, and/or plain yogurt.

Chinese-Style Broccoli and Chicken

Time for a confession: I’m Chinese-American, but I don’t really know how to make Chinese food. As a poor college student, trekking out to Chinatown every week to get the requisite ingredients didn’t work with my schedule, and my local grocery stores always overpriced the items in the “ethnic food” aisles. Now that I’ve graduated and have a bit more spending money, things like sesame oil ($11.00 for 12 fl. oz! That’s 5x the price of olive oil!) are a more within my reach.

I tried to start with something simple–broccoli, which I love and have been sauteing lightly with some olive oil + salt for years, and chicken, which I had zero experience making before this recipe. Meat is a mystery to me. I’m not a vegetarian, but I rarely buy and even more rarely cook meat. It scares me a little only because of my ignorance, but I put my big girl pants on and went to the grocery store and found a packet of boneless, skinless, chicken thighs and purchased it all on my own. My reward was this yummy dinner.

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Ingredients:
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tsp minced garlic
1.5 inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar.
0.5 tablespoon + 1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
0.5 tablespoon + 0.5 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon olive or other vegetable oil
1.5 lb broccoli crowns, florets and stems, chopped
2 tablespoons oyster sauce

Instructions:
Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces, and put into a large mixing bowl with the garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, 0.5 tbsp cornstarch, 0.5 tbsp salt, and sesame oil. Mix everything together really well, and marinate for 20-30 minutes.

Mix together the 0.5 cup water and 1.5 tbsp cornstarch.

In the meantime, cut up the broccoli, also into bite-sized pieces, and stir-fry it in a large pan with the 1 tbsp oil and remaining 0.5 tsp salt. Stir-fry broccoli for about 5 minutes, or when broccoli is fully cooked but still crisp. Transfer to plate.

Pour the chicken and its marinade into the same pan. Keep stirring until chicken is fully cooked, about 6 minutes. Then add the 2 tbsp oyster sauce, stir, and add the broccoli back in. After the broccoli has warmed back up, add in the cornstarch + water mixture, keep stirring until sauce thickens.

Serve over brown rice. Adapted from here.

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