Cooking for Luv: Vegetarian + Vegan Recipes
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Red Lentil Masala with Greek Yogurt Raita

14 Jan Red Lentil Masala with Greek Yogurt Raita

Red Lentil Masala with Greek Yogurt Raita
Serves 4
Paneer masala is one of my favorite dishes, but I always feel a bit guilty eating a giant plate of stewed cheese and when I think about it, the cheese is really a vehicle for the creamy spicy tomato-based sauce that I could probably just drink plain. As a way to try and make this favorite dish have some nutritional value, I decided lose the cheese and replace with the excess of red lentils I had sitting in my pantry. I ended up creating a hearty soul warming stew that besides a tiny bit of cream and butter (my motto: i'd rather indulge in decadent food in moderation rather than avoid all together and then feel deprived and binge! ) is not only delicious but actually pretty good for you. The dollop of Greek Yogurt Raita on top cools down the spice and gives a tang, but it's completely optional. Enjoy!
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Lentil Masala Ingredients
  1. 2 Tablespoons Garam Masala
  2. 2 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
  3. 1 Tablespoon Butter
  4. 1 Red Onion, finely diced
  5. 1/2 Tablespoon Fresh Minced Ginger
  6. 3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  7. 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  8. 1- 14.5 oz can of Diced Tomatoes
  9. 1 teaspoon Chili Flakes (up to 1 tablespoon if you like it spicy)
  10. 1 cup of Red Lentils, rinsed and sorted
  11. 4 cups water
  12. 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream (California people, try Strauss Family Farms- humane and delicious)
Greek Yogurt Raita Ingredients
  1. 1/2 Cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  2. 1 inch section of English Cucumber (or other large variety), shredded on microplane or grater- including the skin.
  3. 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  4. 1 Pinch Sea Salt
  5. 1/8 Cup Fresh Cilantro, Finely Chopped
  6. 1/8 Cup Green Onions or Chives, Finely Chopped
Make the Lentil Masala
  1. In a large dutch oven (or soup/pasta pot), melt butter and cook onion over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add paprika and garam masala, cook for additional 3 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Stir in ginger, garlic, and tomato paste and cook for additional 2 minutes.
  4. Add dried lentils and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 20 minutes until lentils are soft and liquid has reduced.
  5. Remove from heat and add heavy cream.
Make the Greek Yogurt Raita
  1. Stir together all ingredients and chill covered until ready to serve.
Putting it all together
  1. Serve lentils piping hot, with a dollop of raita, over or beside your favorite long grain rice (or with warm naan).
Notes
  1. I'm not a big fan of dried spices, even when freshly ground and toasted, so I simplified the more traditional flavor profiles that include cumin, corriander, ginger, etc- and although this sauce lacks the truly authentic combo, I think the garam masala and paprika are enough, and like it better for the freshness that results from the omission.
  2. Vegans: Replace butter with earth balance and omit cream.
  3. Add some veggies: Stir in a cup or two of fresh spinach leaves when you stir in the cream.
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