February 07, 2011

Lentil Curry with Squash and Spinach

Someone on one of my favorite cooking bulletin boards recently recommended a recipe for vegetable samosas from the Canadian Living website.   While I was there, I checked out the site a bit, and found some other recipes that looked interesting.  I'll write about the samosa recipe - a very good one - another time, but this time around I'm writing about another recipe I found at the same site.

That recipe is Lentil Curry with Squash and Spinach.  I generally like Indian lentil (dal) dishes, and love squash and spinach, and Juli and I have both been in the mood for some more vegetable dishes of late, so a few nights ago I tried that recipe out.  It started out promising, but the final result, while not bad, was a bit disappointing.

Things seemed pretty good through the first few steps of the recipe, all of which are fairly standard to Indian dishes.  I fried up some onions and garlic, then some spices, and then added some chicken broth and water and started cooking the lentils.   After letting the lentils cook for a time, I sampled the broth, and I was pleased with the flavor:  rich, hearty and a bit spicy.  By the time the dish was done, though, most of that richness and heartiness was lost, leaving only a hint (more an aftertaste) of spiciness.   Essentially, adding chopped squash (I used kuri rather than butternut, as that's what we had on hand), potato and a fairly large amount of spinach overpowered the dish, spreading the seasoning too far.  The resulting dish wasn't awful or anything, but it was pretty bland.

Despite the disappointing results, this wasn't a total waste, as I might be able to use aspects of this recipe down the road.  I'm not going to make this dish as written again, but I might use the basics of it - with a lot less in the way of added vegetables - to make something else.   Going with recipe as written but using just the potato and maybe a chopped carrot or two instead of the spinach and squash should make for a pretty good Indian side dish. 

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:33 PM CST

    You may just have needed a little more salt. Or even a hint of acid to perk up the dish. I find that lentils are giant flavour soaks especially when cooked with their skins. There's something about their skins that releases a compound that can mess with your flavouring.

    Another thing that you can try is to stir in some fresh ground, fresh roasted cumin and red chile right before serving it up.