Lentil, Chickpea, and Potato Curry

I’ve now closed all the tabs for the recipes that inspired this –  I think this may have been one, maybe this as well, and I spent a goodly time browsing the archives of Indian food blogs like One Hot Stove.  What came out, while not exactly an authentic dish, is delicious and healthy.  I suppose it could be called a channa dal (I think “channa” refers to chickpeas, “dal” to lentils).  Potatoes are aloo. So this should be aloo channa dal?

I served this with chappati, the technique for which I’m still perfecting.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. brown lentils
  • 1/4 c. red lentils
  • 2 cubes veg bouillon and 1.5 c. water, or 1.5 c. broth
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large potato, chopped (on the small side)
  • a goodly handful of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small (14-oz size) tin of chickpeas
  • a goodly handful of fresh spinach
  • about 1/2 – 3/4 c. leftover rice (you can use uncooked rice too, see instructions below)
  • spices: I used 1/2 T. (plus a bit) of a curry powder which contained turmeric, cumin, red pepper, asafoetida,  cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, and some other stuff – fenugreek maybe, and something I didn’t recognize.  I also put in about 1/2 tsp. cloves and a goodly amount of cayenne pepper.  Also salt.

Methodology

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, put about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.  When it is hot enough that veggies added will sizzle, add the onion and garlic and let it cook for a few minutes, then add the lentils, potatoes, bouillon, and water (or broth).  If you are using uncooked rice instead of leftover rice, add it at this point, and increase the amount of water appropriately (i.e., if you add the 3/4 c. lentils and 1/2 c. rice, add 2.5 c. water/bouillon.  And use a slightly larger pan.)  Add some spices too – curry powder, cloves, and cayenne, or whatever you fancy from the list of spices above.  Stir everything and leave it to cook – but keep an eye on it, since the water will start to cook off eventually.
  2. When the lentils (and rice) are about cooked and the potatoes are soft, add the chickpeas and tomatoes (and leftover rice, if you’re using it).  Check and adjust the seasoning.
  3. After everything is heated through, take the pot off the heat and stir in the spinach.  It will wilt but not cook all the way.
  4. Serve with bread (if you are a carb fiend, anyway).  Chappati if you dare, or just plain pita bread would also be fine.

I thought this was one of the best things I’ve cooked lately.  If you want to be super healthy, you can add sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.  Some sauteed green cabbage might also be good.

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