I recently watched a show surrounding Indian culture, the northern part, and I was just amazed about the complexity, yet simplicity of their food. Much of the food on the show was focused on vegetarian dishes, and in all honesty, I was hooked. I’ve always been a fan of Indian food, and granted I am not eating it on a regular basis, probably once every few months, but when I do, I am in love. I love eating things like lentils, and butter chicken, scooping up the sauce with things like naan, or roti. The flavors are always complex. It is beyond a standard curry powder that you might pick up at th e store, and that’s what I really love about Indian cooking. Toasting spices, and building flavors as you progress in a dish. With that said, I set out to make a Sunday meal consisting of green lentils, and kidney beans. It was a dish that was so comforting, and made for great leftovers throughout the week.
I began cooking this in the morning, and let it go throughout the early afternoon, tasting, and building along the way. This Indian green lentil curry with kidney beans rocked. My wife loved them, and well, sometimes that is all that matters.
Let’s get started.
- 2 cups green lentils
- 5 cups of water
- 15 oz can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 tbsp canola oil
- 2 inches of fresh ginger, smashed
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 whole roma tomatoes, diced
- 2 whole green chilies, smashed
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp chili powder (reduce for less heat)
- 1 tsp tumeric powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Fresh cilantro, torn
- Naan (optional)
- Roasted Chicken (optional)
- Indian Pickled Relish (optional, but recommended)
I’m a big believer in stocking up on spices and condiments for that matter. After all, when you have a hankering for a certain cuisine, you should have the arsenal to quickly get started. Well, as I had a handful of items, I needed to stock up on a few things as my masala dabba did not offer a few things I was looking for. This was good because it led me to a place in Milwaukee that I had never been, and I loved this place. It was called Best Food Store, located on 13th street in Milwaukee. It looked like a 7-Eleven from the outside, but was a really great grocery inside, and it was authentic. Let’s just say I was the only Caucasian browsing pickled relish in the store. They had everything though, from fresh vegetables, to flours, to an array of lentils, and frozen items. Let’s just say I’ll be back. I picked up my items, and quickly headed home to cook.
Start by getting a saucepan on the stove. Combine the lentils, tumeric, and water. Stir, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat, and cover, and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. Check the lentils about 20 minutes in for tenderness. You don’t want them to be mushy, but you do want a little bite to them.
About 20 minutes in add the ginger, chilies, and the kidney beans. Stir.
During this time, heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Toss in garlic and onion, and let those sweat for about 5 minutes. Add in the cumin seeds, coriander, garam masala, chili powder, and salt. Mix and cook a couple of minutes, then add in the tomatoes. Give a good stir and set aside.
Remove the ginger and chilies from the lentil mixture and discard. Add in the onion mixture, and give a good stir. If you need to add a bit more water, feel free. Add in the cream, and stir again. Cover, turn off the heat, and prepare any other items you are going to serve, such as the roasted chicken, or naan.
When you are ready to serve, Add the Indian green lentil curry with kidney beans, and serve alongside the pickled relish, roast chicken, and naan. The lentils pack the warmth and flavors that you would expect in an awesome curry, and when paired with the pickled relish (highly recommend), it almost cleanses the palette, along with some really great heat. Scooping up the curry with the chicken, and curry was just a hit. Hope you enjoy!