Amaranth Lentil Curry
A big thanks to Liz for lending me her space to pen my foodie thoughts with all of you…
As long as my memory stretches (also based on what my parents have told me), I have always been a food lover. My tryst with cooking began at a very early age, helping out my mum in the kitchen and her influence on my cooking has been immense. Though consciously, she has never taught me cooking, we both spoke a lot about food, tastes, flavours, textures, all of which left a lasting impression in my subconscious mind.
The everyday dabbling with food started post marriage and soon the subconscious love for food took wings. I loved my time in the kitchen, re-creating childhood tastes, trying my hand at new cuisines, creating culinary fusions etc….. The only factor that limited my food interests was the unavailability of several ingredients in India when it came to foreign cuisines.
And then we migrated to Australia, and I embarked on this beautiful journey called, The Spice Adventuress.
While the blog might have been a random decision, sparked suddenly one boring cold afternoon; my food journey in Australia was no accident.
I knew that food is going to play an important part in my life on my very first trip to the local farmer’s market. The abundance of produce from around the world, the freshest of ingredients and a culture that loves and respects food at all levels….inspired me beyond measure.
I discovered a new love and passion for spices especially after finding so many new ones that are generally not used in Indian cooking. These days, I experiment a lot with spices, trying to come up with new blends or use the old ones in new ways. And my friendship with Liz has only inspired me much more.
It was exciting to know Liz and her love for spices; we share the same passion and every time we get to chat, our stories go on and on about food, spices and the zillion ways you could combine the two. She had given me some of her spice blends to try and I was absolutely delighted with the high quality, flavour and aroma of the blends.
One of my favourites (and Liz says, it’s her bestseller) is the Curry Lentil Dahl – a fragrant mix of cumin, turmeric, garlic, coriander, bell peppers, mustard and chilli.
I used it to create an amaranth lentil curry which is inspired by the dal recipes of Kerala (southern tip of India). A protein packed dish, the lentil curry has an irresistible aroma from the spices and a rich, creamy texture from the coconut paste. Best teamed with steamed white rice, this amaranth lentil curry can also be enjoyed as a hearty soup.
- 1 bunch amaranth leaves, chopped roughly
- 2 cups toor dal/yellow pigeon peas
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- Salt, to season
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 cup coconut, grated
- 3 green chillies (increase or decrease as you wish)
- 2 tsp curry lentil dahl spice blend
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp jaggery
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 2 dry red chilli
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter (vegetable or coconut oil can also be used)
- Soak the lentils overnight or for at least 4 hours (this cuts down the cooking time greatly). Cook with turmeric powder, tomato and salt till done; mash to a creamy consistency and keep aside.
- Blend coconut, garlic, cumin, green chillies and the dahl spice blend with a bit of water into a thick paste.
- To the mashed lentils, add the amaranth leaves and the spice paste. Season with salt if necessary, add the jaggery and bring to boil. Add water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
- Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
- Prepare a tadka by heating the ghee; crackle mustard seeds and then add the dry chillies and curry leaves. Take from heat within 10 seconds and pour over the lentils.
- Mix well and remove from heat.
- Serve hot with white rice.