Saturday, February 21, 2009

Curried Coconut Coercion

My mother isn't fond of the spice that gives curries their name, so I wasn't introduced to this marvelously flexible dish until I was well into my twenties. These days, they're one of my favorites for quick, hearty, aromatic suppers. Curries adapt readily to whatever ingredients you have on hand; the fact that I had pasillas instead of sweet bell peppers led to this rather unusual, but surprisingly tasty, version. As an added benefit, the dish reheats beautifully for lunch the next day.

In this curry, which is named in honor of loyal reader who insisted that I get back here and post something already, I use red lentils for their attractive color. I located them in the bulk section of a large grocery, and any specialty foods store ought to carry them. If you can't find them or don't want to bother, regular brown lentils would work just fine. I opted for the richness of full-fact coconut milk (C'mon, have you ever heard of anyone getting obese off coconuts? Plant fats are good for you!), but the reduced fat version would also do the trick.

The recipe as written will deliver a flavorful but mild curry. If you want to turn up the heat, increase the red curry paste or add hot curry powder. You could also throw in a diced jalipeno, so long as we're flirting with fusion!

Curried Coconut Coersion

1 medium onion, diced
1 pasilla (also known as a poblano), diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 Tbs red curry paste
1 (14.5 oz) can coconut milk
1 (14.5 oz) vegetable broth
1 (14.5 oz) can petite-diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups red lentils
1 tsp salt
4 green onions, chopped
Lime juice to taste

Saute onion and pasilla over low to medium heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute one minute. Add red curry paste and saute one minute more. Add next five ingredients (coconut milk through salt) and simmer until lentils are done, about 25 minutes. Serve over brown basmati rice with a sprinkle of green onions and a squeeze of lime.

Serves 6.

Still hungry? Try my November Lentil Curry

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