Red Lentil Curry

A while ago I found some red lentils, and was looking for something different to do with them other than soup. Though, at the right thickness, a lentil curry is soup? It has a ginger and spice warmth that you can adjust up or down to your tolerance and preference. Add more cream or coconut milk as you like. It also seems to freeze pretty well, so if you make too much, just freeze some for later.
Red lentils are not absolutely necessary, they just look pretty.
If you are wondering, this is in fact one of the places where the giant can of tomato sauce comes in handy. I defrost about a pint (one large regular can, or two cups) and use that. I adapted the recipe a bit from here, as I don't generally keep red curry paste around. Making red curry paste is on the list of things to try, but for now I've been improvising with dried spices.

Cook, drain and set aside two cups of lentils. Somehow my cooking times for lentils are always about twice as long as they should be, so I won't even bother giving you my numbers (Though if I were I would say start to finish the whole dish probably takes an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half, with cooking time included.). Cook them until they are no longer crunchy. Add more water if needed.

Set a pan over medium heat, melt two tablespoons of butter, and fry a medium onion, diced, if you like onion. If not, skip this.

Add to the hot pan (and if you skipped the onion, do still melt that butter!), and fry for one to two minutes, or until fragrant:
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely (3 if you aren't using onions)
1 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp lemongrass (I know that's not exactly a standard spice in the can probably do all right without it too. It is in most red curry pastes though,)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Add and stir until smooth
2 cups tomato purée or sauce
Add the tomato mix to the lentils.
Stir in 1/4 cup coconut milk or cream and 3 tbsp soy sauce. If needed, add extra salt, or a dash of vinegar. Stir til combined.
Simmer for another 15-20 minutes, or longer if you can, it will improve with time. So making enough that you have leftovers the next day? Excellent idea.
Serve with rice.

Adapted from Pinch of Yum.


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