A flavor-packed, tastebud tingling peas and lentil curry with tomato, basil, ginger, garlic, and onion, served with toasted garlic naan.
1 cup dried lentils (I used green lentils)
2 ½ cups vegetable broth or water
1 ½ cups peas (I used frozen peas)
½ medium onion, diced
2 small roma tomatoes, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch by ½ inch piece of ginger root, minced
Handful of basil, finely chopped
2 tsp curry powder (I used yellow curry powder)
2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 can coconut milk (I used coconut milk with no added sugars)
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sugar (I used raw sugar)
1 tbsp salt (I used Himalayan pink salt)
Pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, bring vegetable broth or water to a boil and add dried lentils. Cover and cook under medium-low heat for around 35-40 minutes until lentils are desired tenderness and liquid is absorbed.
Drain and rinse lentils.
For half the cooking time, soak lentils in cold water for 2-4 hours.
Heat large sauté pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions and ginger, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and basil, sauté with chili powder for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes for 1 minute.
Add curry powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder and stir for an additional minute. Pour in coconut milk, stir in sugar, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
Add frozen peas and rinsed lentils. Cover and cook for 10 additional minutes, stirring occasionally. For fresh peas, add lentil first and add peas after 5 minutes.
Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired and serve with rice or bread. I served this with pan-toasted garlic naan which was the perfect savory flavor to compliment the spices in the curry!
Lentils – Lentils come in various colors – typically green, brown, red, or black. They are rich in iron and folate (a B vitamin) and are a fantastic source of dietary protein. Lentils contain high amounts of soluble fiber which can help to lower cholesterol levels and manage blood sugar, assisting in heart disease and stroke prevention. They also have insoluble fibers which are essential to healthy digestion. Magnesium and folate found in this legume promote cardiovascular health.
Peas – Peas contain good amounts of fiber, protein, vitamins A, K, C, folate, thiamine, manganese, phosphorus, and antioxidants. They are rich in polyphenol antioxidants and can help in chronic disease prevention such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Curry Powder – Curry powder is a blend of various spices which typically include turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, mustard seed, cardamom, cayenne pepper, and fenugreek. Consumption of curry powder can aid in blood sugar control, prevention of cancer cell growth, healthy digestion, cholesterol management, and reducing inflammation.
Turmeric Powder – Turmeric has potent medicinal properties due to its active ingredient curcumin including reducing inflammation and associated chronic pain, promoting digestive health, cancer prevention, and supporting healthy liver function.
Cumin Powder – Medicinal properties of cumin include increasing healthy digestion, promoting weight loss, cholesterol and blood sugar control, and combating food-borne illnesses. Cumin seeds are also a rich source of iron which assists in healthy red blood cell function and production. They also contain antioxidants that help reduce damage from harmful free radicals.
Red Chili Powder – Red chili powder contains vitamin C which boosts immune system function to fight off infections and heal injuries. Capsaicin found in red chili powder has been found to release endorphins that stimulate sexual arousal and powerfully boost metabolism. Red chili powder can also promote healthy digestion and prevent acid reflux and fight bacteria that cause stomach ulcers. It’s anti inflammatory properties can help those with osteoarthritis by increasing blood flow and reducing joint swelling.
Onion – Onions includes high levels of sulfuric compounds, which stimulates the body’s anti-inflammatory processes to promote healing. It also has folate, vitamin C, and fiber and can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Ginger Root – Ginger root contains gingerol, an incredible medicinal substance that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger helps in treating chronic indigestion, nausea, and vomiting and can be particularly helpful for digestive troubles when brewed in a tea and taken regularly. This incredible healing spice can also lower blood sugar significantly and help improve cardiovascular health.
Garlic – Garlic contains manganese, vitamins B6 and C, and selenium. It has incredible medicinal properties including combating illness, reducing blood pressure, lowering LDL cholesterol, and promoting longevity of life.
Basil – Basil is an anti-inflammatory herb that contains powerful antioxidants. It also has antibacterial properties and high level of magnesium which promotes blood flow. Basil contains flavonoids that promote healthy white blood cells and is known to fight harmful free radicals in the body.
Tomato – Tomatoes are the major dietary source of antioxidant lycopene, a carotenoid which reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer. They also contain vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, and folate.
Cilantro – Cilantro, the leafy portion of the coriander plant, contain high amounts of antioxidant flavonoids, essential oils, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, and vitamins, A, C, K, and folate. It may help reduce levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol as well as promote healthy cardiovascular function.
Happy eating folks! And remember, food is art.
“Let food be thy medicine.” – Hippocrates
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