Friday, May 11, 2012

Smells like teen, err, Indian spirit

This week, I am that co-worker. You know the one. The one who brings in unattractive leftover and uses the microwave to warm it to the point that its aroma permeates the entire office.

Yep, that's me. Me and my Indian-spiced lentils.

I bought lentils awhile ago to make ... to make ... well, I was going to make something and I never did. The dried legumes have been henceforth sitting in the pantry. Mocking me. Taunting me, each and every time I opened the cabinet to fish for something to occupy Miles while I cooked dinner.

Finally fed up (well, maybe just the opposite) with the appearance of the bag, I decided to finally use them. I went over to The Perfect Pantry, typed in that I had lentils and came up with Indian-Spiced Lentils made ... wait for it ... in the slow cooker.

Sweet Jesus, I was in love.

Now, I must disclose that after selecting this recipe that it took me a good three weeks to remember to pick up ginger at the store. I blame our new grocery routine - I do the bulk of the shopping at Aldi and fill in at Kroger. Aldi has no ginger and Miles is cranky by the time we hit Kroger.

Anyway, I got the ginger, I had my lentils and I had a slow cooker free (yes, I have more than one). That recipe was going to be mine!

Slow cooker Indian-spiced lentils
Barely adapted from The Perfect Pantry

2 cups small lentils, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (not optional)

In a 3-quart slow cooker, add all ingredients. Stir to combine, and cover with water to within 1 inch of the top of the cooker. Cook on high for 3 hours, or cook on low for 6 hours, stirring once or twice during that time and checking that there is sufficient water in the cooker. If the lentils have absorbed most of the water before they finish cooking, add enough water to cover the lentils again. After the cooking time, taste, and season with salt as needed. Add cilantro and serve hot. Or, pack into small containers, let cool completely, and freeze. Serves 8.

Note: The original recipe said 2 hours on high, 4 hours on low. I tried this. It didn't work. I cooked mine for 2 hours on high, realized they were not done and cooked it on low for 2 or 3 more hours.

And if you want to know how they taste? Better than they look because, well, they look like baby poo. I like the flavor and find it to be a filling lunch when served with a 1/2 cup of basmati rice. Miles has tried them, too, and though he was was a bit hesitant at first, he ate them with enthusiasm.


  1. I see you mention cilantro as NOT being optional but, Do you think the recipe would still be tasty without it? I absolutely CANNOT eat cilantro. I have issues and can't even swallow it. :-/

  2. Yes, you could do without it. I just love it a billion times over and it's not optional for me.

  3. I keep a big long hunk of ginger root in my freezer and grate it frozen into recipes with a microplane. It is quite handy for this ginger loving family. I thank Rachael Ray for the tip.

  4. I'm a that co-worker all the time. I think as long as you don't cook fish, you're fine. At least that's what I tell myself.