Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sweet Potato, Chard, and Lentil Curry

This is a warm, comforting, mild - and healthy! - curry that makes a nice change from all those heavy, starchy, traditional western "holiday" foods that many of us have been eating this past month or so. I made this the day after our first proper blizzard of the year, which just happened to occur on St Stephen's Day. Served with saffron basmati rice and a dry-fried lotus root curry (recipe to follow, once it's been rationalized and typed up), it made a perfect meal on a cold winter's night when the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even.

Sweet Potato, Chard, and Lentil Curry
~ 4 cups lite coconut milk (2 cans)
~ 3 cups broth (I'm currently addicted to the Better Than Bouillon "No Chicken" flavor)
~ 2 tbsp. oil
~ 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
~ 1 large onion, chopped
~ 1 tbsp. each: minced garlic, fresh ginger
~ 1 tbsp. curry powder
~ 1 tsp. each: cumin, fenugreek, salt
~ 1/2 tsp. cayenne (more to taste)
~ A few grinds of black pepper
~ 3 tomatoes, chopped
~ 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1" cubes
~ 2 cups lentils, soaked (the longer they soak, the quicker they'll cook)
~ 1 large bunch Swiss or rainbow chard, chopped

~ In a large beaker, combine the coconut milk and broth and bring to almost boiling (a few minutes in the microwave).
~ In a large, deep pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the mustard seeds. Stir them about a bit, and wait until they start to pop (be careful!).
~ Add the onions, garlic, ginger and dry seasonings. Stir to combine and cook about 5 minutes, until the onions are glassy and the whole mess is fragrant.
~ Add the tomatoes, and cook another minute or two before adding the sweet potatoes and 2 cups of the coconut milk/broth mixture.
~ Cover and cook over medium heat, about 10 minutes.
~ Add the soaked, drained lentils and the remaining coconut milk/broth mixture. Combine thoroughly, cover, and bring to a boil.
~ Lower the heat to simmer, crack the lid about an inch, and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the lentils are cooked and the sweet potatoes are tender.
~ Stir in the chard, allow it to just wilt, and serve hot, ladled over basmati rice.

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