Long have I been intimidated by cooking Indian food, which is a real shame since I have a very special place in my heart for it.
A few years ago, I spent a summer in Kuwait working at a local university. I spent a lot of time in Kuwait trying to find good vegetarian food. You can only eat so much hummus and falafel (my go to) before you get a little burned out, you know?
Anyway, one of my supervisors at the university is Punjabi and would always bring me THE BEST homemade Indian food. When I got back to the States, I tried my very best to recreate her Chana Masala and a few other favorites, never to any resounding success.
As it turns out, I’m easily overwhelmed by dishes that call for more than 5 spices.
So pretty much all Indian food ever.
But these 30-minute Spicy Indian Lentils are so simple, easy, and delicious that I think I might have just rounded the corner on the whole home-cooked Indian food abstinence thing.
- It’s almost a joke how easy they are to make. Bring some lentils to boil. Chop some vegetables. Fry up some spices. Mix everything together and enjoy a quiet moment of gratitude for week night food that is fast, easy, and delicious.
- These lentils are vegan, gluten-free, and packed with plant-based protein and fiber for a balanced and nutritious meal that actually fills you up.
- Holy leftovers. These lentils reheat amazingly in the microwave and actually taste better the day after they’re cooked, making them the olympic champions of leftover legumes, as far as I’m concerned.
But I can make the claim that it is super delicious.
- 2½ cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 small onion
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 3 garlic cloves
- 5 ounces spinach
- 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 1.5 cups vegetable broth
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 lemon
- Combine the lentils, water, and turmeric in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are cooked through and very soft.
- In the meantime, chop the onion, mince the garlic and jalapeno, and chop the spinach into fine ribbons. Heat the oil over high heat in a large pot or skillet until shimmering. Add the cumin seeds and stir, cooking for about 30 seconds. Add the onion, jalapeno, ginger, and garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute or two. Add the spinach, red chili flakes, coriander, and garam masala. Cook for another minute or so, until spinach is wilted.
- Add the cooked lentils, salt, and vegetable broth and stir together, simmering over low heat for 5 minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency. Add the juice from the lemon and adjust salt, to taste.
- Serve with chopped cilantro over rice or with naan