I went home for the holidays, which among many other things, means I was able to cook a lot! I can try a lot of new recipes when I am feeding 4 people, instead of just me. But before I get to my tasty holiday dishes, allow me to introduce you one from the quasi-archives.
This recipe hails back to last May. I spotted the recipe for Tamarind Lentils in Veganomicon, when I borrowed it from the library. I returned the cookbook, but kept the recipe in anticipation of making it soon.
However, this recipe was filled with ingredients that I find in my pantry, so I never had a burning desire to make it. Summer came, with its bountiful produce, and it was pushed to the side.
I eventually made another recipe from Veganomicon, Chickpeas Romesco, filled with roasted red peppers, tomatoes and almonds. As I was googling to see if anyone had typed up the recipe before me, I spotted it on Google Books. Low and behold, the Tamarind Lentils and Chickpeas Romesco were on the same page! I giggled to myself, as I still had the rice cooker, months later. And while I made rice for the Chickpeas Romesco, I hadn’t yet made the Tamarind Lentils. I shared the irony with Rob, the rice cooker-lender.
Rob loves tamarind, declared the recipe to be fit for his own kitchen, and stole the rice cooker back! Thankfully, he invited me over to share in the loot – and it was delicious. Tangy tamarind with warm and savoury spices coated lentils in a soupy sauce. It was so good, he offered to make it for a potluck I was hosting at my place the following weekend. Because he wanted to serve freshly cooked rice, he brought the rice cooker back to my place. And there it remained for another few months.
Trust me, Rob knew he could have his rice cooker back at any time. After I lent him 660 Curries, he decided enough was enough. Curries demand rice. And lots of rice demands a rice cooker. He wanted his rice cooker back!
And of course, when I returned from Morocco in December, with a kitchen nearly completely devoid of produce (although lovingly stocked with some leftover soup courtesy of Rob), the first dish I made was tamarind lentils. Without a rice cooker. And while the tamarind lentils were as delicious as I remembered, the rice was not! A bit too soupy/sticky, but palatable nonetheless.
Thankfully, Rob has agreed to come over to cook my rice next time.
Although, I am still (not so secretly) pining a 3-in-1 rice cooker/pressure cooker/slow cooker.
This is my submission Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring coconut oil, and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Simona. Rob also gets props for taking a better photo (top photo) of the tamarind lentils.
1 tbsp coconut oil (Rob uses coconut oil, but olive oil worked fine for me)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
(or replace the above spices with 2 tsp garam masala)
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/4 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
1 cup dried lentils (black or green)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp concentrated tamarind paste (soaked in water and strained if using tamarind pulp)
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup rice, prepared how you make rice (or your favourite grain)
1. In a heavy-bottom medium-sized pot with a lid, heat oil over low medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger, and let sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the onion and fry until translucent and soft, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, cumin seeds and chili flakes, and stir for another 30 seconds until the spices smell fragrant.
2. Add the lentils and broth, increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir and lower the heat to medium-low. Partially cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils have absorbed most of the liquid and are very tender. The lentils will be very thick; add a few tablespoons of water if a thinner consistency is desired.
3. In a small cup or bowl, combine the tamarind, maple syrup, tomato paste and salt. Use a rubber spatula to scrape all of the mixture into the lentils; stir to completely dissolve the flavourings. Simmer the mixture for another 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust salt, if desired, and serve immediately.