lentils with curried tarka

A few years ago when I was in college and cooking for myself, I went on a semi-vegan kick after reading Skinny Bitch. I was a vegetarian at that time but my Wisconsin roots (aka cheese) and love for pork made the vegan, and vegetarian stints short ones.

Dal was a lunch-time staple for me and I made it on an almost weekly basis. I may have burnt myself out on it a few years ago, but after reading Mark Bittman’s article in the New York Times, Elevating Simple Legumes, Just Enough, I had added Dal to my weekly menu and couldn’t wait another week to make it. Out of the many dal recipes in the article – the Lentils with Curried Tarka caught my eyes. And my tastebuds. Lentils cooked in coconut milk? Curry, scallion and lemon zest -infused butter? Combined for one decedent bean dish. And while serving naan along side it seemed a little redundant on the starch side, what better way to enjoy the classic Indian dish. Vegetables can wait another day.

Lentils with Curried Tarka adapted from New York Times

  • 1/3 cup dried brown lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups mix of coconut milk  and vegetable stock (I ended up needing a lot more than this throughout the cooking process)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut butter (coconut oil would work better)
  • 1 bunch chopped scallions
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped cilantro leaves

In a medium saucepan, combine lentils and liquid and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn heat down to medium-low so that the mixture bubbles gently, cover partly and cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are just tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Add liquid as necessary to keep them a little soupy.

Put butter in a skillet over medium heat until it is melted (I realized that coconut butter doesn’t melt very well which is why I would recommend coconut oil) Add scallions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cook and stir for another minute or so. Add a large pinch of salt and some pepper.

When lentils are cooked to desired tenderness, stir scallion mixture into the lentils. Dal should be moist but not soupy; if it is not, add more water and heat through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve.



Filed under article, beans, coconut, great meals, Recipes, vegan, whole foods, whole grains

11 responses to “lentils with curried tarka

  1. Molly

    Ive found my new love for curry this week so Im going to have to try this! and with lentils? Even better!

  2. Emily, this looks delicious! I love lentils!

  3. savoringsarah

    Yum!! I ❤ curry AND coconut milk…

    Gorgeous pics, too!!

  4. I love lentils. They look great, and your photos are so artistic too. 🙂

  5. Mmmm… love curry, and lentils!

  6. i love curry…not sure about the lentils? i will have to give it a try!

  7. Kris

    Ahem…pardon me? This looks amazing! If I didn’t have the largest pot of soup in existence in my fridge to get to, I’d be making this tonight! It’s going on the grocery list for next week.



  8. oh I love how unique this is – looks delicious!

  9. So glad I caught up on your blog this week because this is going to be my lunch today or tomorrow. I have a feeling it is going to be a regular. Yum!

  10. How precious is this! Perfect for an appetizer.

  11. Pingback: Le Foodie | The Healthy Everythingtarian

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