Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Green Lentil and Vegetable Curry

Never in my life did I think I would become a stay-at-home mom, but when I had my second child it just didn't seem worthwhile to work any longer.  I thought staying at home would be a piece of cake.  Thought I'd have all day long to do what I wanted.  Boy was I wrong.

Mornings around here are a train wreck.  I wake myself up at 6:15 so I have a few minutes to do the bare essentials.  At 6:30 I wake up my 5 year old, and I must admit that he's really pretty good about getting ready for long as I follow closely behind to keep him on task.  I take him to school at 7 o'clock and come back to help my 11 year old daughter get ready for middle school.  The next hour, leading up to 8 o'clock, is my most challenging and dramatic part of the day.  I repeat everything I say eight to ten times until she finally hears me.  Because middle school is a fashion show we bicker over what she's going to wear, which usually results in lots of whining until I give in.  Finally I pretend to hear the bus and usher her outside. When the bus pulls away I take a deep cleansing breath. 

As soon as my daughter gets on the bus I meet my neighbor for our morning walk.  Most mornings we walk a total of an hour and a half, making it 9:30 when I get home (only 1 more hour before I have to pick up my son from Kindergarten).  Immediately after walking, I grab my keys and dash to the grocery store where I literally have to run into the store and down the aisles grabbing stuff off the shelves like a mad woman so that I can make it to the carpool line in time.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that I run through the aisles.  I'm out of breath when I get in the car.

When I get home with my son at 11 o'clock I've been up for about 5 hours and I've been going nonstop.  I haven't had time to eat yet and I'm feeling ravenous.  I get my son situated and unload the groceries.  I'm so hungry I can't stand it.  I've learned to have healthy options ready and waiting for me when I get home, otherwise I will make very bad choices.

This green lentil and vegetable curry is a comforting, satisfying, and healthy option. It's chock full of protein-packed lentils, green beans, kale, and carrots which are simmered away in a spicy sauce.  I really enjoyed this curry best over brown rice, with a dollop of yogurt and a piece of naan bread on the side.  I do have to say that my family didn't care for this meal at all, but they are all picky eaters, and I didn't really want to share anyway.  I really enjoyed knowing that this meal was waiting for me in the fridge after a long hectic morning. It's worth mentioning that this dish improves over time once the flavors have a chance to meld. 

I wanna take this time to say that I love and appreciate being able to stay home with my kids.  I realize that not everyone has the option to do so and I am grateful.  I just want people to know that we all lead busy lives and we all feel short on time.  It helps to have healthy dishes like this up your sleeve and at the ready.

Green Lentil Curry
Adapted from Food and Wine
contributed by Madhur Jaffrey
Serves 4-6 easily

  1 teaspoon finely grated ginger 
1 garlic clove, mashed to a paste 
2 teaspoons ground coriander 
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
3 tablespoons canola oil 
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds 
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste mixed with 1 tablespoon of water 
1 1/4 cups dried green lentils 
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (omitted)
4 ounces green beans, cut into 3/4-inch lengths 
4 ounces kale, stemmed and leaves finely chopped 
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced 
1 cup finely chopped cilantro 
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more if you like it spicy 
In a small bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, coriander and ground cumin. Stir in 1/4 cup of water to make a paste. In a small skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the cumin seeds and cook over moderately high heat for 5 seconds, just until sizzling. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the spice paste and let cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until thick, about 1 minute longer. 
In a saucepan, combine the lentils with the turmeric and 5 cups of water; bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are barely tender. Add the green beans, kale, carrot, three-fourths of the cilantro and the cayenne and season with salt. Cook until the lentils and vegetables are tender, 15 minutes. Scrape in the spice paste and the remaining cilantro. Simmer for 5 minutes, then serve.
Serve with steamed basmati rice, or in my case, brown rice, warm naan, and plain yogurt.

Theme: Lentil Love!


  1. Your getting ready for school routine sounds familiar. We're almost to the point of forbidding closed doors. When he's supposed to be getting dressed, he's really playing in his room. When he's supposed to be brushing his teeth, he's really in the bathroom with the door closed making faces in the mirror. And I'm there the whole time nag, nag, nag.

    I think it's awesome that you had such a healthy dish waiting for you and I could certainly learn from that--I've been making some bad choices when rushed.

  2. Wow. I never really thought about all the rushing my mom always had to do in the morning...but yeah that sounds about right. I feel your pain! I would definitely be SO happy to come home to this curry. In fact, I think I might make it for dinners/lunches next week!

  3. yummy and tasty curry dear...:)


  4. OMG, I had no idea what a hectic life you lead Kim. I had to smile at the fashion show. I feel like that sometimes when I'm getting dressed and nothing looks quite right.

    I admire you and all you do for your children. I know they will be better for it. I certainly am. My mom stayed at home until I left for college and then she went back to teaching. It's great to have dishes such as this lentil curry up your sleeve. Saves many a day :)

  5. Being SAHM is not an easy job, but very rewarding in lots of ways! Your lentil curry does look wonderful and a perfect comforting meal to have!
    Hope you have a wonderful relaxing weekend!

  6. WOW!! I would be insane with that schedule. My two were 9 years apart so life wasn't quite that hectic!!

    The lentils with all those wonderful spices. What could be better?

  7. I remember the craziness of having the three little ones at home. Harder than any day job. I secretly suspect that many women take on other work just to get time away. ;-)
    Great spread! Wonderful idea to have mommy foods ready for you in the fridge for quick noshing.

  8. can i get an amen! i so know what you are talking about. i'm always so excited when school starts back up (insert evil laugh), but then quickly realize that my life has become even busier than before. keeping healthy food on the table is definitely a challenge. these lentils look incredible though, they would definitely hit the spot after a hectic morning.

  9. Alexis tried being a stay at home mom twice and couldn't stand it. It's been 10 years since our daughter was in middle school and I do NOT miss those days. Trevor is in middle school right now, so non-dramatic:) Guys are so much easier to raise, aren't they?

    Your lentil curry looks good, hearty enough not to need meat.

  10. Your rationale makes GREAT sense!! I ♥ moms...I'm a school secretary! I really like the idea of having lentils and rice ready for a quick when I come home for my lunch break!! What a great idea! Your curry looks marvelous!

  11. Dear Kim, Your lentils look delicious. I love lentils, so this is right up my alley. It is always important to make sure to take care of yourself, this dish is hearty and healthy for you. Take care my dear. Blessings, Catherine xo

  12. This looks fantastic. I eat curry pretty regularly and am always looking for new recipes. As a vegetarian I depend heavily on lentils for protein. I really enjoy that you add in personal details about your life rather than just going "hey here's a recipe."

  13. Kim, your dish looks delicious and so many good flavors with the spices. You are lucky to be home with your kids and it sounds like they keep you pretty busy. My DIL would love to be home with her 18 month old. She just arrived in NYC on business and on FB said what a scary ride from airport. It all keeps her so busy, with not a lot of free time.

  14. Your morning sounds like mine used to but, I had to high tail it to work before rushing to pick Tristan up at day care. Lots of years ago. You are very energetic Kim! Hope you are well.

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