Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day & A Red Lentil Butternut Squash Curry

Orange and green: how's that for a St. Patrick's Day lunch? If you haven't met me, you might not know I'm Irish, but after one look: freckles, pale skin, and a last name that screams it, it's pretty clear that I've got some Irish blood. Though, I've never been to the place -- only dreamt of it and attempted to live my Irish fantasy through friends that have been there. One friend -- my dear friend (and bridesmaid) Sheila, studied abroad in Gallway, Ireland and had wonderful tales of friendly locals, packed pubs and curry to share. Seems strange, right? Curry? In Ireland? Sure, it's not Irish food, but Ireland has really become quite multi-cultural: with ethnic sections of major cities, much like the Little Italy's and Chinatowns in the U.S. So, in honor of St. Patrick's Day I give you a curry dish: red lentil and butternut squash curry to be exact.

I've been hearing a lot about red lentils lately. They're cheap, tasty, high in fiber and folate and when mixed with rice become a complete protein. I chose to skip the rice this time and go with some kale under my lentils, making for hearty "Erin Go Bragh" lunch.

I adapted this recipe from one found on epicurious for Coconut Red-Lentil Curry with Zucchini

Red Lentil & Butternut Squash Curry (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

serves 4 for dinner

1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 1/2 teaspoon curry
dash nutmeg
dash cayenne pepper
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup coconut milk (if you want it creamier, use more coconut milk, less water)
1 1/2 cups dried red lentil
2 cups butternut squash, diced into cubes
fresh cilantro to garnish
coconut milk yogurt to garnish

In a deep skillet, add the oil and onion and saute for at least five minutes until fragrant. Then add the ginger and garlic and saute for one minute. Then add all of the spices and saute for another minute. Next add the water, coconut milk and lentils and bring to a boil. Immediately, turn down to a simmer and cook for another five minutes. Then add the squash and cover and simmer for another fifteen minutes until the lentils and squash are tender. Serve and garnish with fresh cilantro and coconut milk yogurt.


Linda said...

I used red lentils for the first time last week. They turned to mush. Are they supposed to?

Your recipe sounds tasty, but not something my family would go for. :).

Liz said...

Hey Linda. I think they maybe were cooked a little too long? Mine stayed in their lentil-like form, but when pressed with a fork turned to mush. I understand about your family and curry dishes -- it'll be interesting to see if my recipes change once I have a family of my own...

Ricki said...

Looks fabulous! I rarely use red lentils for the same reason (turn to mush)--but they do taste good!

Carrie said...

YUM!!! I have to try that! It looks really good! What a great photo of lentils!! (Which aren't always necessarily photogenic!!)

glutenfreeforgood said...

This looks awesome, Liz. I am a huge lentil and dal fan, but have never mixed them with butternut squash. Garam masala is one of my favorite lentil spices.

Seriously, this recipe of yours sounds amazing. I'm stealing it right now!

Where was Henry during this cooking spree?