Lentil curry, which has a gravy like consistency, is a highly spiced Indian preparation made with red or brown lentils. It is rich in nutrition and tends to lose its shape when cooked for long periods of time. The Indian lentil curry is simple to cook and its preparation consists of tempering the boiled lentils with whole spices and cooking them over low heat. Tomatoes and onions are usually added to the dish, lending it a unique flavor, while crushed garlic cloves may frequently be added to make it aromatic.
Coriander leaves serve as the usual garnish, whereas the lentil curry soup is topped with fresh parsley and a dollop of cream in the US. The healthy legume has now been popularized in America and curried lentils often feature ingredients completely unknown in Indian kitchens. Kale and celery along with diced carrots are used to prepare the US version of the curry which is enlivened by the addition of vegetable broth, added to the rinsed and drained lentils.
Spinach and other vegetables are also added to the curry to make it a wholesome food. The lentil curry is usually vegetarian but can also be prepared with chicken broth in order to increase its nutritive value as well as enhance its taste.
Curried lentil is usually served as a side dish with hot, steaming rice or Indian flatbreads. The curry is occasionally watered down and consumed as a soup or stew in the western world as well.
Overview of Lentil Curry Recipes
The basic recipe of curried lentils require onion and garlic cloves which are sautéed in vegetable oil before adding curry powder and turmeric to it. A cup full of vegetable broth along with the boiled lentils and tomato puree goes into it next and the dish is boiled for a few minutes and removed from heat before being served with a garnish of fresh cilantro and a dash of cream.
The Indian curry does not make use of vegetable broth and is spicier than the western form. Green chilies are slit and simmered along with the Lentil Dhal curry usually, while many regional variations utilize grated coconut and additional spices as well.
Popular Variations of Lentil Curry Recipes
The curry is cooked in a variety of ways across the world with the most popular ones being:-
- Parippu Hodi- This is a Sri Lankan dish prepared by boiling the spices and lentil with coconut milk. The dish is tempered with mustard seeds, curry leaves and onions before serving.
- Dhansak- A staple of Parsi cuisine, this aromatic dish is made with lentils and lamb cooked together in a curry.
- Easy Peasy Lentil Curry- A British variation of the spicy dish, it is cooked with lentils and frozen vegetables coated with curry paste.
Lentil curry is often considered to be a single dish meal as it is extremely filling and nutritious.