Black Lentil Curry With Garlicky Tamari Mushrooms
Oh my, oh me, this recipe is as scrumptious as could be! It combines exotic flavours, nourishes your body and gives you the urge of closing your eyes to taste that combination of aromas. I don’t know what hit me but sometimes I get these random ideas of a new dish and this happened to be one of those glorious moments. I was walking and picking flowers (the truth) while it occurred to me that black lentils cooked in coconut milk along with ginger and lemon balm would be perfect when topped with garlicky tamari mushrooms! I returned back to my kitchen as quickly as possible (along with a bunch of flowers of course) and began cooking – though first I needed to ask a neighbour for black lentils because I didn’t have any. When sampling what I had created, my taste buds were beyond delighted! Isn’t it incredible that our minds can piece together different ingredients? Let me tell you, it felt wild. The different textures, spices, the savoury tamari sauce, the aroma of the coconut and the freshness of the lemon balm turn this dish into a diverse and exciting journey for your senses. Though mind you: experimenting in the kitchen and putting the mind’s funny ideas into practice doesn’t always have a happy ending.
good news about those lentils
Lentils are a type of legume (such as beans, lupins, peanuts and peas) and are cultivated for their seeds, which is what we ultimately consume. They contain fiber which has cholesterol-reducing effects and helps to manage blood sugar levels by providing us with slow-burning complex carbohydrates. While lentils barely have any fat, they are a good source of protein (~ 9g/100g), which may be interesting to know for vegetarians and vegans. Also, if you are feeling a little low in energy, try to incorporate some more lentil dishes in your diet, as they help to replenish your iron stores. Iron is essential for metabolism and energy production because it transports oxygen throughout your body. Rather than consuming energy drinks and granola bars, iron may be what we’re lacking! In addition to this, lentils are rich in folate (also referred to as vitamin B9, which allows your body to create plenty of new cells) and manganese (which plays a role in development and metabolism). The bottom line is this: lentils are delicious and nutritious and if you don’t already cook with them regularly, you should start eating them today!
Prep Time: 10 min (1 hour prior soaking of lentils if they aren’t precooked)
Cooking Time: 20 min
Total Time: 30 min
For this recipe you will need:
For the lentil curry:
½ cup black lentils, pre-cooked or soaked in water for 1 hour
1 x 250 ml can of coconut milk
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground coriander
fresh ginger, thumb-sized and without skin (unless organic)
a few twigs of fresh or dried lemon balm
For the tamari mushrooms:
2 spring onions
2 cloves of garlic
4 leaves of chard
a few twigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons strong tamari sauce
1 tsp coconut oil
- Before you start cooking, it is best to soak the black lentils in cold water for about one hour. Make sure that they are covered in liquid and set aside (you can also skip this step but they will need slightly more cooking time, or you use precooked ones). In the meantime, you can start slicing the mushrooms and finely chopping the garlic, spring onions, lemon balm and ginger.
- When the lentils have soaked for long enough, rinse them in water and place in a pot. Add about 3 times as much water (1.5 cups of water for ½ a cup of lentils – I’m sure you could do the math too), the chopped ginger, lemon balm, cumin seeds and ground coriander and set to a boil.
- As soon as the water has been absorbed by the lentils (~10 min), reduce the heat and add the coconut milk. Let the curry simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Next, heat a big frying pan on medium to high and add the coconut oil. When the pan is heated and the oil has liquefied, add the garlic, thyme and chopped spring onions. Sautee for about 2-3 minutes and add the mushrooms. Make sure to keep the temperature at medium now so as not to burn the mushrooms (mushrooms are best when left to cook without too much stirring). When the mushrooms reduce in size, add chopped chard and let it simmer for another 2 minutes.
- Last, add the tamari sauce to the mushrooms – you should hear a nice evaporation sound when adding the liquid – welcome to your kitchen, chef!
- If you want, you can add a little salt to the lentil curry, but keep in mind that the tamari sauce will add saltiness.
- To serve, put the lentil curry in a bowl or on a plate and top with the tamari mushrooms.
- Just as we do in yoga, you should now take a moment to close your eyes and thank yourself for showing up in your kitchen today. You did well, for your mind, for your body and for your taste buds!