Curried Coconut Lentil Stew With Easy Rice Pilaf


Sorry for the break between posts.  We spent a long weekend at home with my parents and I hardly did anything in the kitchen but help my mom a bit.  I did make a big vat of Italian vegetable soup so that my parents would have some home-cooked soup for lunch for a few days.  The original recipe is from Canyon Ranch, if you’re interested.  It’s a very adaptable recipe and I frequently change out ingredients depending on my mood.  My only changes this week were substituting chick peas for cannelini beans, omitting the fennel and cheese, and adding a little ditalini to bulk up the soup into a one-pot meal.

Anyway, it was a long drive, we returned very late and I didn’t much feel like doing the grocery shopping or cooking the next day.  So, we ended up with a pot full of whatever I had in the pantry… which turned out to be some spicy curried coconut lentil stew and a simple basmati rice pilaf.


1 tbsp olive or canola oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

2 or 3 serrano chillies

3 stalks celery, diced

3 medium carrots, sliced into rounds

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tbsp curry powder

1 1/4 cups brown lentils, washed

6 cups water or vegetable broth

1/2 cup frozen corn (or fresh)

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 15-oz can coconut milk

3 cups kale, chopped into thin strips (including stalks)

1/4 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped

Salt to taste


1.  Heat the oil in a 5-qt pot.  Add the onions, garlic, ginger, green chillies, celery and carrots.  Saute for a few minutes.  Add the cumin powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and curry powder.  Saute for a few minutes, until the spices become fragrant.

2.  Add the lentils, water or broth, and one tsp salt, and mix well.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the corn and continue to simmer until both the corn and lentils are cooked.  Add water or broth if the stew is getting too dry.

3.  Add the frozen peas, kale and coconut milk.  Still on low heat, allow the stew to reach a simmer, and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add salt to taste and stir well.

4.  Remove from heat, garnish with parsley or cilantro, and serve over rice or as is.  Can be stored in the fridge for up to two days.

For the rice

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp cumin seeds

8 peppercorns

4 whole cloves

1 stick cinnamon

2 bay leaves

3 or 4 cardamom pods

1 1/2 cups basmati rice, uncooked

Salt to taste

3 1/4 cups water or vegetable broth

1.  Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Add the cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves and cardamom pods.  Saute until fragrant and cumin seeds just begin to darken.

2.  Add the rice and saute, stirring continuously, until much of the rice has turned opaque white (instead of translucent).  Do not allow any of the rice to brown.

3.  Remove from heat and pour into an electric rice cooker.  Add one tsp salt and 3 1/4 cups water or vegetable broth.  Turn on the cooker.

4.  When the rice is cooked, fluff and serve immediately.  Can be stored in the fridge for a day or two.

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