Red Lentil Coconut Curry

We got home at 5:30 p.m and my daughter promptly asked me what was planned for dinner. I honestly had no clue. My mind was drawing a blank. The kids had pasta last night. Couldn’t do that again. I knew that they would object to fish or meat tonight. I wasn’t in the mood for a fight. What to do, what to do. I didn’t want to pull out the fish sticks or soy nuggets. I only use those when I have no options.

I quickly threw on some rice to cook. That’s easy enough. I then thought back to earlier today and the yummy smells of thai food that my coworkers ordered. Yummy coconutty curry smells. I had to do something with that! I quickly put together a makeshift red lentil curry dish. Packed with protein and amazing flavors. This recipe can easily be played with and adapted. Add whatever veggie you see fit to the dish. Totally fit the craving bill for today!

Red Lentil Coconut Curry

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped

1.5 tbsp. ginger, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
.5 cup red pepper, chopped
.5 cup green pepper, chopped
1 small potato, diced
1 small sweet potato, diced
handful of mushrooms, chopped
1.5 tbsp. curry powder
red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups dry red lentils
1 can coconut milk
3.5 cups vegetable broth

In a large pan, saute the onion, garlic, and ginger over a medium-high heat.

Add in the chopped veggies and cook for a few minutes.

Add in the spices and stir.
Stir in the coconut milk. Add in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover. Cook until the lentils are done, around 30-40 minutes. 
Add more salt or cayenne to taste. 
Serve over basmati rice. Jasmine rice would also work.



Thai Beef + Veggies + Coconut Rice = Yummy!

I love Thai food. If I knew how to insert a heart symbol, I would insert it somewhere into this sentence. Did I mention I love Thai food? Somehow when you throw in fish sauce, lime juice, sriracha, and basil into a dish – magic happens. For real! Try it sometime!

I am not a ground beef fan or a Martha Stewart fan, but I came upon this recipe that intrigued me. Thai ground beef over coconut rice sounded good. It was also looked easy enough that I was able to amp up the flavor and stretch the ingredients to make it work for us. I happened to have all the ingredients on hand, plus some veggies that I thought would only add to the dish. If you want, you could substitute tofu, turkey, or soy crumbles in place of the cow.

For the Coconut Rice:

2 cups jasmine rice
1 can coconut milk
1.5 cups of water

Put the rice, milk, water, and salt in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium low and cover. Cook until the liquid is absorbed.

For the beef dish:

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tbsp ginger, chopped
2 chili peppers, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
10 oz. container mushrooms, sliced
snowpeas – a bunch
chinese broccoli, choped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
baby corn, sliced
scallions, chopped
red pepper flakes
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sriracha
1 tsp. sugar
chopped basil
lime wedges

Combine the fish sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, and sugar in a small bowl. Let it sit for a bit.

Add oil to your wok and add the garlic, ginger, onion and chilis. Cook for about a minute. Add the meat and brown it. Add in the vegetables and cook some more. Add in the tomatoes. Add in the fish sauce mixture, chili flakes, and the basil. Cook a few more minutes.

Serve this over coconut rice with a good, healthy squeeze of lime juice. It’s soooo good! You will want to keep eating and eating this dish. I wish I had doubled this recipe – it was that good.

Aloo Gobi Masala

I may have already mentioned this, but I love Indian food. My love affair with Indian cuisine began when I was in college. I don’t remember eating much of it growing up in the midwest, but I dove in once in New York. My dorm was right in the center of an Indian neighborhood. I had about 6 vegetarian Indian restaurants and several spice stores to choose from. I even had a sari store or two, but I am not brave enough to figure out how to wear one properly. They are beautiful though.

I do remember the first dish I tried. It was Aloo Mutter. Since then, I have sampled many dishes, and have also had the opportunity to cook many of my favorites and play around a bit in the kitchen.

I wasn’t planning on Indian food tonight. In fact, I had nothing planned for dinner. The menu popped into my as I was headed home to pick up my car, which was perfectly parked right next door to the Indian grocery store. This wonderful little store has everything I need, and they are wonderful to me. They don’t mind my questions when I ask them to identify things, and they are very helpful about figuring out what is kosher around the store. Sometimes I wonder if I am the only Jewish observant person that shops in the store.

On the menu tonight was Aloo Gobi Masala, which is a curry of cauliflower, potatoes, and peas. It was so good. Lucky for me, there are tasty leftovers for me to take for lunch tomorrow. Well…lucky me, but maybe not so lucky coworkers. They have to smell my yummy lunch. Should we thank the open office floor plan gods now? On to the recipe.
Aloo Gobi Masala


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 overflowing tablespoon garlic paste
1 heaping tablespoon ginger paste
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 small green chile, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 head of cauliflower, cut up into florets
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 potato, cubed and boiled
1/2 cup of peas
1/2 tablespoon chopped cilantro (optional)
1/4 cup half and half
Methi Leaves, for garnish

Saute the onions in oil – for around 7 minutes.

Add in the garlic and ginger paste. Saute a few more minutes. Add in the chopped tomatoes. Saute for 2 minutes. Add in the spices. Stir the mixture and cook a few minutes. Add in the cauliflower and the broth.
After 5 minutes, add in the potatoes and the peas. Cook for another 5-10 minutes. Stir in the half and half and the optional cilantro.

Serve over some rice. Garnish with the methi leaves.

Soy Chorizo and Bean Saute

While wandering a grocery store a couple months ago, I was delighted to come across some soy chorizo. I am always seeing some interesting recipes that call for the real thing, so I was intrigued and bought a package. Having never tried the real thing, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I do know that it is supposed to be a crumbled, oily, and spicy sausage treat. I dove in and decided to test the waters. I didn’t use a recipe, I just worked with what I had in the pantry. It came out excellent. It was one of those dishes that I actually fight with my husband over the leftovers to take to work the next day. I almost always let him take the leftovers. So you know it’s good.

Soy Chorizo Saute

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
Soy Chorizo or the real stuff
1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of diced tomatoes (I like the kind that has added flavor, jalapenos or otherwise)
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup veggie broth

In a large cast iron pan or skillet, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil for 7 minutes.

Remove the chorizo from the casing and crumble into the pan. Cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes.

Add in the white beans and tomatoes. Stir into the chorizo mixture.

Add in the spices. Stir and cook for a few minutes.

Stir in the veggie broth. Let the dish simmer for another 10 minutes.

Serve over steamed rice. Yum! I will not say, “Yum-O,” because that would be lame. It is good though, and it is a super easy meal for a crazy weeknight.

Chana Saag Aloo

Lunchtime at work can be rough. The combined smells of a hundred or so employees heating up and eating their home cooked meals can be rough. I do have one colleague who tends to have nice smelly lunches. So my dinner idea was stolen from her lunchbox.

After a long week of Passover with no rice, I was craving basmati. What better to go alongside, then a curry? Chana Saag Aloo is a very simple and cheap dish made up of ingredients that I usually have on hand in my pantry and freezer. Extra bonus is that there was plenty left over for lunches the next day.

There are many recipes for this dish; this recipe is based on what I had on hand.

Chana Saag Aloo

2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp ginger, chopped
2 tsp. of curry powder – rough estimate, truth is I shake it all in and guesstimate when it’s enough
1 tsp. turmeric
1 potato, diced
1 can of chickpeas
1 block of frozen spinach
can of diced tomatoes
cup of vegetable broth
cup of half & half or coconut milk

Cook some basmati rice as instructed on the package. The rice cooker works wonders. Start by sautéing the garlic, onion, and ginger in some olive oil. Sauté.
for 5 minutes. Add in your spices and the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes. As that starts to soften, add your chickpeas. After 5 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients, stir and simmer on low until ready to eat. Serve over the yummy rice. Enjoy!


About the picture…curries don’t always look pretty and appetizing. They just don’t. They are really yummy though…so please partake in this adventure.

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