Curried lentils are bold with awesome flavors that speak comfort and well-being. I love to cook at home, it’s like therapy and provides relaxation for me. The weekends are always busy, cooking great food for my wife and I.
Cooking Curry in Dubai:
For me, curried lentils is a dish that reminds me of the Middle East, Dubai, the dessert and authentic, aromatic, vibrant, amazing Indian curries. I love curried red lentils with coconut, a simple quick meal that is all about warm flavors. There is an art to blending spices to perfection and a great curry spice mix is exactly that; it’s an art that has been perfected over 1000 years. In India, a precise selection of spices is a matter of national or regional cultural traditions, religious practice and family preference.
I worked as a Chef Saucier and Sous Chef for 2 years at the Dubai Hilton in the United Arab Emirates. The kitchen crew consisted of cooks from India and Sri Lanka. They cooked some of the best curries I’ve ever had. We ordered our food twice a week from Europe. From Dover sole to foie gras, to cucumbers and lettuce; only the finest products were shipped fresh from the markets in Paris. It was nouvelle cuisine cooking in the desert of the UAE, stressing freshness, seasons, lightness, and clarity of flavor.
Working with chefs from India and Sri Lanka and learning how to cook authentic curries was very special. The curries with their vibrant yellow colors, the wonderful smell of slowly simmered spices and the coconut that added the sweetness and made the curry so creamy were amazing. I remember soaking the shredded coconut in hot water, pressing the soaked shredded coconut flakes by hand to extract the coconut milk used to cook the curries.
Food cooked by Chefs for Chefs :
Every day before dinner service, we had a chef’s table in the middle of the kitchen.
The chef’s table wasn’t about Dover sole, micro cress and foams. It was about enjoying simple food, cooked by chefs for chefs and relaxing before service started, this experience created a great camaraderie.
Chefs from India, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, England, Scotland and France, all taking their turns cooking “simple food” for the daily chef’s table. Our chefs from India created magic, cooking and simmering the bold flavors of great curries. Using spices like turmeric, cumin seeds, chili peppers, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom.
Did you know, that the average yellow curry powder you find in stores is not used when cooking an authentic curry.
Curries and Spices :
If you research the spices used in curries, you find some amazing unexpected benefits and information. Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color.
Turmeric, or as it’s called “the golden spice” has played an important role in India’s traditional medicine for centuries as a treatment for inflammatory conditions. On its own, turmeric has a slightly bitter flavor, however, turmeric shines when combined with other spices. Extensive research shows that turmeric may be one of the most effective nutritional supplements in existence.
Curcumin, a component derived from turmeric is one of the most widely studied plant components in research on cancer. It is recommended as an anti-cancer therapy and to prevent cancer recurrences.
It has also been said that Curcumin is a promising agent in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. A study shows that India has a low incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, which may in part be related to the high intake of curry, which contains curcumin.
Traditional curries are seasoned with spices that help your digestive system. Cinnamon is also an antidote for an upset stomach. Coriander helps relieve stomach aches and treats digestive upsets, and cumin helps with digestive issues. Ginger is among the healthiest spices on the planet and is one of the very few “superfoods” actually worthy of that term. Bottom line, a good curry is a blend of different spices that balances intense flavors and can range from mild to hot. The spices provide not only an array of vitamins and minerals but also a variety of health benefits.
Coconut Milk and Curries:
l love everything about curries and coconut. Usually, I use a full strength coconut milk to cook my curried lentils. Coconuts are one of those foods that are between the good and the bad food department. Used in moderation coconut milk has great health benefits; but like everything else consuming too much can cause problems.
Canned coconut milk has a thick consistency and a rich, creamy texture, however, it is high in calories and saturated fat. I recommend using a good quality organic unsweetened Coconut Milk.
You can make fresh coconut milk at home, by combining unsweetened shredded coconut with warm water in a blender. Puree the mixture, then press and strain through a cheesecloth.
Lentil Summary :
Red lentils are easy to cook and they don’t require any soaking prior, and can be ready in less than 20 minutes. Curried lentils are one my favorite go-to recipes as it’s easy to prepare with pantry staples and quick to make.
We all know our schedules are busy, so cooking a homemade, quick and healthy meal in 30-35 minutes fits the bill. It’s best to give the lentils a rinse before cooking, to eliminate impurities. Lentils are an excellent source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They’re also a great source of plant-based protein and fiber. Brown, green, yellow, red or black — lentils are low in calories, rich in iron and folate and an excellent source of protein.
Quite Possibly the Best Curried Coconut Lentils
Savory spices like cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, hot peppers, and bay leaf give the curried red lentils a deep, vibrant flavor. You will love the fact that you’re cooking a meal
that is really, really tasty, inexpensive, full of bold flavors and great nutrition.
I call it, curry in a hurry and it’s as easy as it gets.
You have to admit, being able to cook a well balanced nutritional meal in 35 minutes is pretty amazing.
I think dicing the onions is about the most stressful task in cooking this recipe.
You would think there is a set formula for a curry powder blend, however, there is no standard recipe.
So roll up your sleeves, slice and dice, dive in and cook a great curry by creating your own spice blend.
You decide how much heat you want in the recipe by adding more peppers flakes.
I like to cook my curried lentils until they are soft and thick and collapse into a rough purée.
Feel free to add more water if you prefer a more soup-like consistency.
I cook bigger batches of the curried lentil and use them for lunch or dinner throughout the week.