Make Ahead

Curried Lentil Dip

December 26, 2010
Author Notes

There were only 2 happy moments on my worst vacation ever taken—one was when the hurricane ended. The second was when my friend and I were eating Curried Lentil dip at this little beach-side restaurant in Negril, while we heard Bob Marley covers playing from the dance club next door. When we returned from that sad trip, I was obsessed with re-creating the flavor of that one good night. After much experimentation I came up with this recipe - just spicy enough from the herbs, and just creamy enough from the coconut milk to be a fantastic starter, or serve as a lovely side dish. - safenervine —safenervine

Test Kitchen Notes

A dip that could also serve as a hearty side or a fortifying soup, safenervine's dish is full of happy surprises. We love the technique of skimming the coconut butter from the top of the coconut milk to sauté the onions, garlic and ginger, and the hot spice oil adds a vibrant finish. Don't be alarmed when your "red" lentils melt into a buttery yellow mass -- the cilantro brings a welcome hit of green, as well as an element of freshness. The second time around, we added a spritz of lemon juice to finish the dip and really liked the results. - A&M —The Editors

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils (rinsed)
  • 1 onion, large, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin, turmeric, cumin, and black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Sweet Potato Chips (optional)
In This Recipe
  1. Place can of coconut milk in freezer 20 minutes before starting to cook. Open can and remove solidified coconut butter from the top to use in sautéing. Reserve the rest of the coconut milk.
  2. In a sieve rinse lentils and drain.
  3. In a 2-quart heavy saucepan cook onion, garlic, and a couple pinches of salt in 2 tablespoons coconut milk fat over moderate heat, stirring, until golden.
  4. Add ginger and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  5. Add lentils, coconut milk, chicken stock and 1 1/2 cups water and gently boil, uncovered, until lentils fall apart, about 20 minutes.
  6. While lentils are cooking, take a small heavy skillet and heat the olive oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook cumin, stirring, until a shade darker, about 30 seconds.
  7. Add garam masala and other remaining spices and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Stir hot spice oil into lentils.
  8. Let curry stand, covered, 5 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Stir in cilantro and add salt to taste.
  9. Serve with either sweet potato chips or as a side dish.

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