Butter Lentil Curry

Today I've come to the realization that, while I've been blogging for about eight years now, I haven't yet shared with you my easy lentil curry recipe. I've shared lentil recipes (here and here!) And I've share curry recipes (here and here!) But never a lentil curry! Indian curries, from all regions, are one of my favourite things to cook. They're easy, often involving only one pot. They're full of protein, extremely flavourful, perfectly satiating, and never too heavy - making them excellent vegan or vegetarian options. Indian food newbie? Please note that Indian food is SO much more than butter chicken!

This particular curry recipe differs from my others as it is slightly more liquid. It is a hearty soup/stew like meal that tastes even better the next day - making it a perfect addition to your weekday meal prep lineup. You may soak your lentils overnight - but cook them long enough and it really isn't necessary. I used dupuy lentils, but beluga (black) lentils would work equally well. 

Thanks to Smitten Kitchen, I discovered the magic of monter au beurre: literally bringing to life (lifting) with butter. And you know what? You can also monter au coco - lift it up with coconut cream and keep it vegan. (Because in my world, there's ALWAYS a vegan option!) All this means is that you'll add your butter and/or cream at the very end - right before serving. The flavour explosion that happens at this moment is unreal. My butter-chicken loving boyfriend was an instant convert.

Note - as stated in some of my previous curry posts - curry is NOT a spice. I repeat: CURRY. IS. NOT. A. SPICE. That yellow powder that you buy at the supermarket is a spice blend - often with added preservatives that you really don't need in your food. You're much better off using individual spices as done in this recipe. This vegetarian curry combines a lovely mix of onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, anise, coriander, turmeric & cinnamon. Finish it off with a little butter (or coconut cream to keep it vegan) for a little je-ne-sais-quoi-melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.

Butter Lentil Curry
adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Punjabi Style Lentils

2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic-ginger paste
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup chopped canned tomatoes
1/4 tsp anise or fennel seed
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 finely chopped àrbol chile pepper (more, to taste)
1 cup dried dupuy lentils
4 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
4 tsp salted butter (or coconut cream)
4 tsp heavy cream (optional)

Heat oil in dutch oven or large saucepan. Sautée onions over medium heat until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Lower heat to medium & add cumin seeds, garlic-ginger paste. Cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, fennel/anise, turmeric, cinnamon & chile. Cook for another 5 minutes, until mixture starts to bubble. Add lentils & water. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for one hour. Remove lid. Add salt & more chile to taste. Add cilantro, butter & cream (if using) and stir gently. Serve immediately, with more cream on top if desired. Serves 4.