Thursday, March 24, 2011

Red Lentils with Coconut Milk

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog might be noticing a pattern in my posts...I love coconut milk! It's creamy and rich (and slightly sweet). It's so versatile to use and doesn't need to be refrigerated either, which makes it very convenient. And because it's non-dairy, it's great for people with milk allergies or vegans. So I guess it's no surprise that I tried this lentil recipe (once I see "with coconut milk", I'm practically powerless). This is a nice, creamy way to enjoy lentils, if you like that sort of thing (which I do).
served with a little brown rice mixed in

Yield: 4 servings

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced or grated fresh ginger
3 cups water
1 cup coconut milk (regular, not lite)
1 1/4 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 lb. plum tomatoes (about 3), cored, seeded and chopped medium
  (or 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained)
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
salt and ground black pepper

1.      Combine the spices in a small bowl and set aside. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the spices and sauté until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Stir in the onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
2.      Stir in the water, coconut milk, and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the lentils are tender and resemble a coarse puree, 20 to 25 minutes. (At this point, the lentils can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days; reheat over medium-low heat before continuing.)
3.      Stir in the tomatoes and cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

chopped onions
cooked onions and spices
coconut milk, water and lentils cooking
adding chopped cilantro and tomatoes
stirred and ready


Chuck said...

I feel the same about coconut milk, and I love this dish.

Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat) said...

I'd have to swap out the cilantro for parsley because I'm one of those people for whom cilantro tastes repulsive (I believe it's a genetic thing with the taste buds). But the coconut milk is pretty awesome. I just baked a coconut cake (recipe coming soon) that uses coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut extract, and shredded coconut! Yum-o! Coconut lovers delight. AND I'm working on a coconut pudding right now. A serious coconut bender to say the least.

Susan said...

Here's a shocker...I've also been working on a coconut pudding! I'd say we were separated from birth, but I love cilantro! (clearly different genetics). Are you going to call your cake a coconut quartet cake (or maybe coconut quad cake)?

Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat) said...

Unfortunately, I'm not as creative as you are when it comes to the names, so I went with boring old "Coconut Cake" as it's title.

We should make our coconut puddings Iron Chef style. Between us we've got 5 judges waiting in the wings.

Susan said...

Battle coconut pudding!

Laura said...

What happens if you substitute regular milk for coconut milk? I try to stick with basic, inexpensive staples for our kitchen, but coconut milk isn't something we keep around. Everything else we have. Thoughts?

Susan said...

Hi Laura,

You can definitely substitute milk, but it probably won't be quite as creamy and it definitely won't have that coconuty flavor. I'm sure you'll still enjoy it though. But next time you see coconut milk on sale, I recommend giving it a try. I love's a staple at my house for sure!

Best, Susan

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