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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Red Lentils and Cabbage

All this soggy weather paired with cooler temperatures sure has my body and mind preparing for the arrival of autumn. Salads and crudités were summer mealtime staples, but it's time to transition back to warmer fare. With a large head of Napa in the fridge, a lone tomato on the counter, and plenty of lentils in the cupboard, this slightly sweet and spicy dish was practically calling my name.
Serve it with rice or naan and enjoy.

Red Lentils and Cabbage

Makes 4-6 side servings

  • 1 1/4 c red lentils
  • 5 c water
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil (I used walnut)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • about 3/4-1 lb cabbage, shredded or sliced thin (I used Napa)
  • 1-2 hot peppers, sliced thin (optional)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • salt to taste
  • fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)


Place water and lentils in a medium to large pot and bring to a boil; remove foam floating on the water surface. Add the curry powder and stir; cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and turn the heat down to low. Gently simmer lentils for about an hour; be sure to occasionally stir them during the last 30 minutes so they do not stick to the bottom of the pot.

When the lentils are almost done cooking, add the ginger and tomato to the pot; stir well and cover. In a large pan or pot over medium heat, add the cooking oil. When hot, add the cumin seeds and gently toast them for about half a minute. Add the garlic; as the pieces begin to brown, add the onions, peppers, and cabbage, stirring to incorporate all ingredients. Turn up the heat slightly and stir fry the mixture for several minutes. Add the lentils to the cabbage mixture; simmer another 2-3 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired.


Image by Rebekah Carter (2011). Recipe adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking via smitten kitchen.

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