Coconut Milk Lentil Curry

When it’s cold out, warm food that’s warm in both temperature and spiciness is the best there is. The double-whammy of warmth makes it the most bang-for-your-buck dining option. And with the inviting smell of the coconut and curry and the cheerful color of the veggies, this dish is just right for January. And February. And March. And most of the year.

Here’s what you need:

1 ½ cups rice

1 ½ cups lentils

3 cups of water or veggie broth and 3 cups of water

1 white onion

4 cloves of garlic

2 bell peppers

2 big carrots

14 oz coconut milk

6 oz tomato paste

Curry seasoning/powder (cumin, turmeric, coriander, pepper, that kind of thing)

Salt to taste

Olive oil

Before I get to the how-to, let me say that I know that pre-made spice mixes aren’t everyone’s bag. I get that. However, I am in the remarkably privileged position of having access to a great local food co-op that makes really wonderful spice blends that are sold in bulk and are relatively inexpensive. Wow, that sounds hella pretentious.  I just wanted to defend my not-so-cool use of curry powder!

Anyway, here’s what you do.

Rinse the lentils off like a champ.  Dump them in a wok if you’ve got it or a big ol’ pot if you don’t and add the water/veggie broth. Once the water/broth boils, turn it down to a simmer. In the meantime, chop those veggies like you’re on Top Chef (unless that could end in losing a finger or two). Get the peppers, garlic and onion into a pan with a little olive oil. Cook until the onions are translucent and slippery. Dump them and the carrots in with the lentils and let it simmer simmer now. Cook the rice in the other 3 cups of water. You got this. After a few minutes, add the coconut milk, tomato paste, and spices to the lentils. Mix it all up and let it cook until the rice is done. Bam! There you go.

PS – I would LOVE to add pictures to these recipes, but I cannot photograph my food to save my life. Do you, dear readers, have any pointers on how to take awesome food photos? Any tips would be GREATLY appreciated!

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