janet @ the taste space

Lentil and Rhubarb Stew With Indian Spices (& other savory rhubarb ideas)

In Mains (Vegetarian), Sides on June 4, 2010 at 7:34 AM

Dessert comes to my mind first when I think about rhubarb. I have collected a multitude of sweet rhubarb recipes to try, but who says rhubarb needs to be paired with sugar as a sweet dessert?  I stumbled upon an Indian-spiced rhubarb and lentil stew by Mark Bittman at the New York Times, and figured it would be a nice way to delve into Indian cuisine without worrying about curries and chilies.

This was an interesting dish. I must admit that I am not gushing over it, because its mate that night was the baked rhubarb and apples with earl grey tea, cardamom and orange zest which truly stole the show. It had many complex levels of flavour, with the ginger and garlic, then the cardamom and cloves and finally little pockets of poached rhubarb. I didn’t really taste the mustard, though, despite modifying Bittman’s recipe to roast the mustard seeds first. It was different and I enjoyed it, which is most important. I served this with rice as a vegetarian entree, but it could also accompany an Indian-spiced meat dish.

This is my savoury submission to Ricki and Kim’s SOS Kitchen Challenge, featuring sweet or savoury natural vegan cooking highlighting rhubarb this month, to this month’s My Legume Love Affair hosted by Diana at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa and this month’s Side Dish Showdown.

Here are some other savoury rhubarb recipes that caught my eye:

Lemon-Rhubarb Chicken from Bon Appetit
Beet, Rhubarb, and Orange Salad from Bon Appetit
Rhubarb, Cherry, and Golden Raisin Chutney from Bon Appetit
Black Sea Bass with Sweet-and-Sour Orange Rhubarb Sauce from Gourmet
Caramelized Onion, Beet, and Rhubarb Compote from Affairs of Living
Asparagus with Balsamic Rhubarb Reduction from Cook Local
Caramelised Pastry Straws with Sweet Rhubarb Ketchup from BBC Food
Fresh Mackerel with Roasted Rhubarb from BBC Food
Tilapia with Rhubarb and Scallions from the New York Times
Vegan Pulled Pork with Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce from Eating Appalachia

Lentil and Rhubarb Stew With Indian Spices

3 or 4 stalks rhubarb, strings removed, chopped
1 cup lentils, well washed (Bittman recommends orange lentils but I used green)
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1  tablespoon minced garlic
4 green cardamom pods
1 tablespoon small black mustard seeds
2 cloves
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper, or to taste
1/2 tsp chili flakes or 1 dried ancho or other mild chili, optional
Salt, to taste
Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat small amount of oil in pan. Add mustard seeds and roast until they pop. Add ginger and garlic and fry until golden-brown. Add chili flakes and cook for another few seconds, until fragrant.

2. Add rhubarb, lentils, cardamom, cloves and pepper to the  saucepan and add water to cover by about 1 inch. Cook at a steady simmer until lentils and rhubarb are quite soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove cloves and, if you like, cardamom pods. Add salt, then taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Serves 4.

  1. Interesting! I’ve been trying to think of a savory way to use rhubarb. This might get the wheels turning a bit….

  2. This just went straight to my bookmarked list! I love lentils…the texture, the taste. And I love rhubarb. The pictures are great as usual!

  3. Interesting! I will have to try this combo out myself.

  4. Sounds perfect! This is the type of thing I know I’d love (anything with Indian spices, and I’m on it!). Thanks so much for yet another great submission to the roundup. 😀

  5. Looks delicious and tempting. I want to try this one too! I’m a big fan of Indian spices and recipes but I thought Japanese are good in Rice recipes but Indians also. Nice post!

  6. […] There are a multitude of lentils, ranging from ivory white, yellow to black. I have cooked with brown, green and red lentils, but I only recently tried the French green (du Puy) lentils. With this […]

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