Rustic and down-to-earth, this red lentils and kale dish surprises with intriguing flavors from ginger and curry that are tamed by the creamy equatorial flavors of coconut milk.
This dish can be served as a side dish but carries enough weight and heartiness for it to be a meal on its own. Good quality coconut milk, which is the sauce that binds all of the flavors, will make all the difference. If you don't already have a favorite brand of coconut milk, this one is my favorite, here's another one, and is worth seeking out for its freshness and creamy finesse. Oh and don't be tempted to skip the crispy fried shallots, the textures and sweet brown caramel flavor add a nice dimension that rounds out the dish.
Red Lentils & Kale in Coconut Curry Sauce
(adapted from Farmhouse blog)
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 large shallot, sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 2-3 green onions, sliced thin
- 1 bunch kale, washed, hard stem removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 14 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups)*
- 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- grapeseed oil or coconut oil (flavors are great w/ kale) for sauteing and frying
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Boil roughly 3 cups of water. In a heatproof bowl, use the boiled water to soak the red lentils for 15-20 minutes.
- In the meantime, heat about a tablespoon of grapeseed oil in a small skillet with sides. Fry shallots a few rings spaced out in pan until lightly browned and crisp. Try to avoid overcrowding the shallot rings or risk sogginess. Using a slotted spoon or kitchen tongs remove the shallots onto a paper towel and set aside.
- Drain the red lentils. In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of coconut oil or grapeseed oil until shimmering. Add ginger and spring onions and stir-fry briefly. Add kale and saute until just wilted. Remove kale, ginger and onions to a bowl and set aside.
- Heat one tablespoon grapeseed oil in skillet. Add lentils and spread out in a shallow layer. Let them fry for a moment or two, then use a spatula to scrape and turn them. Spread out again and let them fry for a minute more until a golden crust begins to form. Scrape them up, toss, and add kale mixture to the skillet. Mix in the salt, sugar and curry powder and give it a quick saute. Pour in coconut milk and stir until everything is heated through. Don't worry if it looks soupy, the lentils will absorb the liquid as it cools. Salt and pepper to taste. Place in serving bowls and top with crispy shallots.