Ever since I attended a heart-health conference at The Cleveland Clinic in March, I cook with as little added fat and salt as possible. People agree about salt, although some grumbled last week at the Obama administration’s guidelines issued through the FDA about dietary salt limitations. (People don’t want government all up in their personal salt intake.) But for added fat consumption, while newspaper headlines say go ahead and eat it to make you feel full and lose weight, not all cardiologists agree with this advice. The research behind recommendations hasn’t changed that much even if headlines and popular diet trends do seem to change.
(When I write about “added fat” I’m mostly talking about cooking oils, even “healthy” oils, like olive oil and coconut oil. I’m not talking about fat you ingest while eating whole foods like olives or avocados or nuts, although there’s an argument for limiting these foods to reasonable portions.)
Usually, a red lentil curry might involve cooking the onions in a little oil. I cooked mine in a little water. It may also include a full-fat coconut milk for a sweet and creamy result. But in this recipe, the coconut milk is completely unnecessary!
To make up for a lack of salt, I learned at the conference to amp up either the spice (in this case cayenne) or the acid (with lemon juice, lime juice or any kind of vinegar). The cayenne here certainly does the trick, and this is my new favorite dinner.
- 1 cup dried red lentils
- 2 cups water
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1 14 oz. can tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- cayenne pepper to taste (maybe ¼ teaspoon)
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil
- 2 cups cooked rice for serving
- A few tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro (optional)
- Cook the lentils in the (2 cups) water until tender, about 30-45 minutes.
- Place the ¼ cup water into a frying pan with the onions and garlic and cook until translucent, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add the curry paste, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, ginger, tomato puree and sugar. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
- Add the cayenne pepper to taste along with the snipped basil.
- Serve over rice with chopped fresh cilantro (optional).
Here’s to Red Lentil Curry for Meatless Monday!
You may serve this over rice and/or with pita or naan. It’s great both ways!
Next time you’re playing with a recipe, see if you can cook the veggies in broth or water instead of oil without missing texture or flavor! Just maybe, you won’t even notice the difference!