Lentils and Potatoes with Curry

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: About 1 hour

You may want to double this recipe so you have some handy in the fridge or freezer, because it reheats beautifully. Don’t worry if the potatoes crumble a bit on the second go-round; they will only add body to the dish.

Other beans you can use: yellow or green split peas or split mung beans without skins (moong dal), the cooking time reduced by 15 minutes or so.

1 cup dried brown lentils, washed and picked over

31/2 cups water, coconut milk, either made from scratch (see Coconut Milk) or canned (use 1 can, slightly less than 2 cups, with a little water), or vegetable stock, plus more if needed

1 tablespoon curry powder (to make your own, see Fragrant Curry Powder)

2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Yogurt for garnish

Minced fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Combine the lentils, liquid, and curry powder in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low so that the mixture bubbles gently, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils start to absorb the water a bit, about 15 minutes.

Add the potatoes and cover the pan completely. Cook, undisturbed, for 10 minutes or so, then stir gently and check to make sure the lentils aren’t too dry. If so, add a little more liquid. Add salt as the lentils become tender.

Cover and continue cooking until the lentils are soft and beginning to turn to mush and the potatoes are tender at the center, another 5 to 10 minutes; add liquid if necessary. The mixture should be moist but not soupy. Add lots of black pepper, stir, then taste and adjust the seasoning and serve, garnished with yogurt and cilantro.

Variation

Buttery Lentils and Potatoes with Curry. A little smoother and more flavorful: When you stir and check the mixture in Step 2, stir in 2 tablespoons cold butter. (Use peanut oil if you want to keep the dal vegan.)