Serves 4 cups
One of the ways in which I changed this dish was to substitute black lentils for the “Ndengu” or green grams that were originally called for, since they are not widely available in many areas, but I think lentils would make a perfect substitute. I used black beluga lentils because I like the way they retain their shape and their small size. You can use green or brown lentils though if that’s what you can easily find.
Another of the changes I made was to decrease the amount of lentils called for in the original recipe. I wanted to give the carrots equal billing in this dish. I’ve kept the lentils on the dry side, but if you prefer a soupier texture just add more water.
This dish can also be made one day ahead of time, in fact it may even taste better if you do! Just add another splash of water when you reheat.
3/4 cup black beluga lentils (about 2 cups cooked)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 medium carrots, finely diced (about 2 cups)
1 tsp. cumin seeds
3 green onions, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced, about 1 heaping tablespoon
1 tbsp. grated ginger root
1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. curry powder
3 plum tomatoes, grated (about 10 ounces)
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
Cook lentils until they are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes if you are using black beluga lentils. Drain and rinse the lentils and set aside.
Heat one tablespoon vegetable oil in a large sauté pan and add the carrots. Don’t stir the carrots for the first 2 minutes, let them get brown on one side, then give a stir and cook for 2 more minutes. You want the carrots to caramelize a little bit before you add the rest of the ingredients. Next, add the cumin seeds. Once they start to sizzle, add the onion. Let this cook for a minute.
Turn the heat to medium low now, add another tablespoon of oil, and add the garlic, ginger, black pepper, and curry powder, sauté for another minute. Next add the grated tomatoes and the tomato paste. Add a splash of water to help mix this all together.
Add the cooked lentils to the tomatoes, along with about one cup of water and mix well. Cover your pan and let the lentils simmer for 10 minutes or so to blend all the seasoning together.
Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary. Serve with rice or chapatti.
Notes and Instructions
Recipe and photo credit: Linda McElroy