Indian curry is not only a winter dish. Depending on how you prepare it, the spiced stew can fit any season, even the summer months. (And especially the late summer months, when the days are warm and the nights are cool.) This apple and lentil curry recipe is light and fragrant, free of meat and dairy, and makes a complete protein when served alongside rice. As a bonus, a whole pot will run you about five dollars!
No, this isn’t an ‘authentic’ Indian curry, but I’ll be the first to say it’s pretty darn good. It’s a quicker version of the traditional ‘low and slow’ dish. Normally, curry needs to simmer for 60-90 minutes—especially one featuring red meat with sinew such as lamb or goat—but because this version uses lentils for its body, it simmers in only 25 minutes.
Feel free to cook it a little longer if you like a thicker, richer consistency and softer lentils. I found a further shortcut by blending/food-processing the initial onion, garlic, ginger, and turmeric mixture instead of mincing by hand. Follow your intuition with the spices, adding a little more or less depending on your preference.
LATE SUMMER APPLE AND LENTIL CURRY RECIPE
- 2 onions
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 big knob of fresh ginger
- 1 thumb of fresh turmeric
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks of celery
- 1 tablespoon of curry powder
- 1 tablespoon of garam masala blend and/or cumin
- 1 large can of whole, plum tomatoes
- 3 handfuls of dried lentils
- Chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 1 apple, any kind
- Fresh parsley or cilantro
*Optional: Serve with rice
- Peel and quarter the onions, garlic, fresh ginger, and turmeric and add to a blender or food processor. Add just enough water (if using blender) to make the blades spin. Blend until you have a fragrant and colorful pulp.
- Heat a large cooking pot on medium-high. Add the coconut oil and blender mixture. Saute, stirring frequently, to evaporate the water. A pinch of salt will help draw out the liquid. Meanwhile, finely chop the carrots and celery. Add them to the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Let cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.
- When the paste is translucent and the carrots and celery look near to fully cooked, add in the curry powder, garam masala and/or cumin. Stir to coat the veggies and wake-up the dried spices.
- Before the spices burn, open the can of tomatoes and squish the big pieces with your hand (to make a chunky puree). Crank the pot’s heat to high, and dump in the tomatoes. This will deglaze the bottom and lift off any sticky pieces to make cleanup easier.
- Add in the lentils and then pour in twice than enough stock to cover everything (2:1 ratio of stock to everything else in the pot). Allow it to come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Pop a lid on the curry and leave it alone for 25 minutes.
- Chop the apple into little cubes. Add to the curry and let cook until tender, 5-8 minutes. (*Tip: You may want to adjust the liquid level at this stage. If it’s too dry, add more stock. If there is leftover from your lentils having finished absorbing then bring the whole pot to a boil again with the lid off. In this way, you can evaporate the remainder).
- Remove from the heat. Season with salt and stir in a handful of fresh, chopped parsley or cilantro. Serve alone or with rice.
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