Craving Indian? It can be less labor intensive than you may think to whip up a delicious Indian meal. At an oversimplified level, Indian food is all about the spices, with a few key cooking techniques thrown in. The following recipe is a curry at its fundamentals! The tomatoes and cabbage can be swapped out for any vegetables of choice. Add a protein of your liking as well and you have a meal! Just a note: of the spices listed, only mustard seeds are whole, the rest are in their ground form. Cumin, coriander, and fenugreek are often sold whole or ground. Freshly ground will give you a better flavor, but ground is still great.
You Will Need:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. Mustard seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, minced
1 Tbsp. each ground Turmeric, Coriander, Garam Masala, Cumin, Fenugreek,
1 teaspoon Chili powder
½ teaspoon cayenne
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 small head, or half large head cabbage, chopped
½ cup red lentils
¼ teaspoon salt
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat in a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot. Add the mustard seeds (and any other whole spices you use). Fry the seeds until they become fragrant and start to pop.
Add the garlic and ginger and stir frequently to avoid burning (reduce the heat, if necessary). In a small bowl mix the remaining spices (powdered spices) and a few tablespoons of water into a paste. Add the paste and tomatoes to the pot.
Cook over medium heat until the tomatoes begin to break apart (about 10 minutes). Add the cabbage, lentils, and salt. Stir the ingredients to fully incorporate the spice/tomato mixture. Add enough water to nearly cover the cabbage and bring the pot to a boil.
Simmer the curry until the cabbage softens, the lentils break apart, and the liquid is mostly evaporated. Season to taste. Serve hot with condiments and accompaniments of choice (naan, rice, yogurt, chutney….).