Weeknight CookingWhat to CookIndian CookingDinner, Faster

Tonight's Dinner Only Seems Like You Stewed & Stirred All Day

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It’s around this time that we all talk about all the food we want to eat while we hibernate. All the stews we’ll stew till it puts us to sleep. All the mashes we don’t even have to wake up to chew. We’ll pretend we’re growing a thick fur (really, they’re sweatpants) and cradle our favorite bowl like it’s our cub.

But we cannot hibernate—we still have to, you know, go to work and look at Twitter and find our way home. We unfortunately cannot wake up in four months like this bear I met on Planet Earth 2 (the show I spend all my free time with):

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These curried lentils with rice scratch your itch (har har) for comfy bowl foods, but come together in a sprint-like fashion. They’re not heavy enough you can’t still dance around—just please not up against the subway pole.

Curried Lentils with Coconut Milk
Curried Lentils with Coconut Milk

Jog to your grocery store (it’s cold out!) and get these few ingredients. There, we organized them by section of the market.

  • A finger-sized nob of fresh ginger to peel and mince a tablespoon of
  • 2 garlic cloves—minced up
  • 1 shallot or small onion—yep, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup (180g) split red lentils or a mix of lentils (note: other lentils will take longer to cook than red lentils)
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • A 13.5-ounce (398-ml) can full-fat unsweetened coconut milk. Open it when you get home.

We're assuming you already have salt, pepper, and olive oil. If not, add these to your list, too!

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Thirty minutes before you want to shovel dinner into your mouth, put two medium pots on the stove. Pot number one gets 3 tablespoons olive oil. Warm it on medium. Add the ginger, garlic, shallot, coriander, cumin, and turmeric. While they get to know each other for about 10 minutes, get rice going in the second pot: Boil the cup of basmati rice, 2 cups of water, and a teaspoon of salt.

You’re halfway there! This is not a trick.

When the the spices and aromatics are really getting along (i.e., you smell them and they’re noodling and mushy), add the lentils, coconut milk, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Don’t throw the milk can away! Fill it up with water, and dump the water into the pot. Crank the heat to high, get it boiling, then turn to low until the lentils are a texture you want to eat (about 20 minutes).

When the rice is rolling with bubbles, cover the pot and turn that heat down to lowest of lows. Cook for 12 minutes.

If all goes great, both dishes will be ready at the exact same moment; if not, you have to be patient for like three minutes. Taste everything and make sure you want to eat it, then ladle both into a bowl and eat up.

See the full recipe here.