14 Jan Red Lentil Masala with Greek Yogurt Raita
Red Lentil Masala with Greek Yogurt Raita
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!
Lentil Masala Ingredients
- 2 Tablespoons Garam Masala
- 2 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 1 Red Onion, finely diced
- 1/2 Tablespoon Fresh Minced Ginger
- 3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1- 14.5 oz can of Diced Tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Chili Flakes (up to 1 tablespoon if you like it spicy)
- 1 cup of Red Lentils, rinsed and sorted
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream (California people, try Strauss Family Farms- humane and delicious)
Greek Yogurt Raita Ingredients
- 1/2 Cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- 1 inch section of English Cucumber (or other large variety), shredded on microplane or grater- including the skin.
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 Pinch Sea Salt
- 1/8 Cup Fresh Cilantro, Finely Chopped
- 1/8 Cup Green Onions or Chives, Finely Chopped
Make the Lentil Masala
- In a large dutch oven (or soup/pasta pot), melt butter and cook onion over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add paprika and garam masala, cook for additional 3 minutes until fragrant.
- Stir in ginger, garlic, and tomato paste and cook for additional 2 minutes.
- 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.
- Remove from heat and add heavy cream.
Make the Greek Yogurt Raita
- Stir together all ingredients and chill covered until ready to serve.
Putting it all together
- Serve lentils piping hot, with a dollop of raita, over or beside your favorite long grain rice (or with warm naan).
- 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.
- Vegans: Replace butter with earth balance and omit cream.
- Add some veggies: Stir in a cup or two of fresh spinach leaves when you stir in the cream.
cooking for luv http://cookingforluv.com/