Saturday, February 9, 2013

Quick and Dirty Spinach Lentil Curry

Indian food and I, we've come to an understanding.  We have a method.  The dishes almost always turn out. 

There is occasionally an exception though. 

Ross and I have been going back and forth on the proper food pairings for an India Pale Ale.  Traditionally a very hop forward beer.  Bitter.  Think sucking on grapefruit pith.  Well, depending on the hops.  I enjoy them, to an extent.  Ross usually avoids them at all costs.

The debate stems around spicy or not spicy.  The bitterness in hops actually intensives the heat level of most foods.  And the higher alcohol content opens up the receptors on the tongue...also heightening the heat experience.  Usually not a pleasant dining experience.  Unless, of course, you like the sensation of your face burning off.

For some reason Ross felt Indian cuisine and IPAs would pair well.  With my high heat preference in Indian food, I objected.  (I am right by the way, he just won't admit it, but seeing as he doesn't like insanely spicy food, or IPA, I do not hold his opinion of either in very high regard.  But I digress...and I still love him)

So as an experiment I tried a variation of this recipe, substituting some of the cooking liquid for an IPA.  Odell's Hopslam.  Excellent beer.  Such a waste to cook with it.  Again, I digress...

The cooking process released a bitterness in the hops, a musky, dirt-like bitterness, that made the dish near unpalatable.  Lesson learned.  Drink it with dinner, but do not cook with least not this type of recipe.  IPAs do make unbelievable marinades, though...

Back to dinner...

This vegan friendly dish is quick and lovely.  So so simple.  It follows the same method I use for nearly almost any curry: saute onions, add ginger and garlic, add spice, stir til fragrant, add protein and cooking liquid (if needed), add veggies, serve.  So simple. 


Inspired by Elissa's recipe at Kitchen Demure

serves 4

The Ingredients:
2 Tbsp ghee or peanut oil
1 large onion, diced
2 fat cloves of garlic, minced
1 - inch piece of ginger, minced
1 serrano pepper, minced (optional)
1 1/2 Tbsp garam masala
1 1/3 cup red lentils
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
2/3 cups dry white wine
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 bunch spinach, chopped (about 5 cups)

The Process:
In a large skillet heat the oil over medium high heat, and add the onion, ginger, garlic, and pepper.  Saute until just tender, 2-3 minutes.  Add the garam masala and stir until fragrant, about one minute. 
 Add the lentils, water, salt, and wine.  Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.  Stir in the tomato paste.  Add the spinach.  Cook an additional 5 minutes, or until he spinach has wilted.


1 comment:

  1. Looks fantastic, I will definitely have to give this a try! Thanks for sharing :)

    Happy Valley Chow