Recipe of the week: Earth Day red lentil stew that’s ‘like a big hug’


There are as many ways to celebrate Earth Day as there are veggies sprouting from the soil and varieties of fruit ripening on vines and branches. We can hug a tree, chomp on a celery stalk, engage in an environmental cause and do all the earthy-crunchy things one might be expected to do on this special day. 

Or we can make something delicious, like this Bengali-inspired dhal dish. 

This red lentil stew gets round, rich notes from coconut oil and curry powder, a spicy lift from ginger and garlic, and a little smokiness from chili powder. 

The recipe comes to us from the upcoming cookbook, “The Green Kitchen at Home” (Hardie Grant Books, $35), by Stockholm-based vegetarian food bloggers/authors David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl. The cookbook’s release date is May 2. While that may be too late for this year’s Earth Day celebrations, here’s this sneak peek: a stew that’s like Earth Day in a bowl. 


RECIPE

Recipe and text excerpt reprinted from “The Green Kitchen at Home” with permission of Hardie Grant Books. 

DAILY DHAL 

Co-author David Frenkiel writes: 

“This dhal was one of the first recipes I learnt to cook after moving into my own flat, and became something I made almost on a daily basis… A friend born in Bangladesh taught me the recipe. I still remember being shocked by the insane amounts of spices he used and his secret trick to round off the flavor of the spices (stir an enormous chunk of butter into the warm soup before serving). My recipe has a more westernized dosage of spices and I have left out the butter to keep it vegan. If you are not vegan, however, I have to admit that one or two tablespoons of butter or ghee rounds off the flavors perfectly! 

“Fifteen years in, this is still a soup that we make very often. It is one of the most comforting meals we know – it tastes like a big hug – and the kids love it as well.” 

Serves 6 

Prep + cook time 50 minutes 

2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil 

1 onion, peeled 

3 cloves of garlic, peeled 

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated 

1 tablespoon curry powder 

1 teaspoon ground turmeric 

½ – ¼ teaspoon chili powder 

3 low-starch or waxy potatoes, peeled 

2 carrots, tops removed and peeled 

1 cup red lentils, rinsed 

4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable stock 

Sea salt 

3 tomatoes 

To Serve: 

1 apple 

Toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped 

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Roughly chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves 

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium-low heat. Finely chop the onion and garlic, add them to the pan along with the ginger and spices, and sauté for about 10 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. 

2. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes and carrots into small cubes. Add them to the pan and sauté for a further 5 minutes. Add the lentils and stock to the pan and season to taste with salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked, stirring from time to time so the dhal doesn’t burn. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, finely dice and stir through the tomatoes. 

3. Core the apple and cut it into thin sticks. Serve the dhal topped with a sprinkling of the apple sticks, hazelnuts, seasoning and coriander. 

Variations: 

  • Stir through a handful of spinach leaves towards the last minute of cooking. 
  • Add 1 tsp of ground cumin and 1 tsp of mustard seeds along with the other spices for a richer flavor. 

Tip: 

For a nut-free alternative, replace the hazelnuts with toasted pumpkin seeds.


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