Apr 28, 2013

Indian Lentil Sweet Potato Stew

One-pot meals are my friends. Between getting my new garden set up, keeping all of my precious readers well-equipped with daily new recipes and my screenwriting projects, sometimes it’s a relief to just throw a few healthy ingredients into a pot, add some spices and call it a day.

This dish is one of those friends. Not exactly a one-pot meal since I did bake the sweet potatoes prior, but really, how much work is that? The best part about these pots of goodness is that you can clean up the kitchen after they’re on their merry cooking way and just let them sit and simmer until you’re ready to eat while the flavors meld, getting better and better. After dinner dishes? One pot and a couple of bowls. Yeah, I’m good with that.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: cooking Indian food is not hard. It’s all about the SPICES. If you have on hand just a few key Indian spices, you can create amazing things in your kitchen. I’ve sent many people to this website: Indian Foods Co.com. They have every spice and spice mix you could ever need or want. Ajika brand is the best, as they do not usually add salt to their spice blends (still, check the ingredients before purchasing. I have found a few blends which contain salt).

Here are the core Indian spices and spice blends that I always have on hand:

  • Cumin (ground + seeds)
  • Coriander
  • Cardamom
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Garam Masala (blend)
  • Panchporan (blend)
  • Dal Spice (blend)
  • Curry leaves (fresh–they last a long time in the freezer!)
  • Fenugreek leaves (dried)

With these spices you can truly have fabulous, authentic and aromatic Indian food right in your own kitchen!

Okay, here is today’s recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups brown lentils
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 TBS Dal Spice Blend
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Hunza raisins (or any raisins)
  • 1 tsp Bragg or any low-sodium soy sauce
Note: If you do not have the above spice blends you can substitute with:
  • 1 TBS cumin powder
  • 1 TBS coriander powder
  • 1 TBS yellow curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:

  1. Bake the sweet potatoes first. Pierce them, place them in a pie dish and bake at 375  degrees F until fork-tender (about an hour). I usually bake the potatoes way ahead of time so they are cooled off when I’m ready to use them.
  2. Set up the stew. Place all ingredients, except the potatoes, into a pot and simmer for at least an hour. Longer is better.
  3. When the lentils are soft, peel the baked potatoes, cut them into about 1″ cubes and add to the pot. Continue to simmer about another half hour or longer.
  4. As the potatoes cook more in the stew they will fall apart a little. That’s okay. They will add a wonderful, earthy sweetness to the dish.
  5. Garnish with some extra cilantro leaves.

Serves 3-4. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

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