Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Red Lentil & Cauliflower Curry with Methi Thepla

When I was a young girl I lived in an apartment complex and I remember our next door neighbors were from India.  Whenever they would open the door to their apartment this wonderful aroma could be smelled throughout the common hallway.  I was too young at the time and really not focused on food, so I never asked them what spice they were cooking with.  But when I started cooking Indian cuisine and exposed to different spices, I knew exactly what spice they were using when I purchased and opened up my first bag of fenugreek.  It took me all the way back to 1968 and my apartment building and I finally knew what that wonderful aroma was.  And even today, whether I use fresh fenugreek leaves, seeds or dried leaves in my cooking, I think of that family and I associate Indian cooking with the smell fenugreek.

So there is an Indian restaurant near my husband's work and they serve the best Methi Thepla (fenugreek flatbread) that I've ever tasted.  I have tried on several occasions, but I have yet to master making certain Indian flatbreads.  I even purchased a Tava (iron griddle) and a chapati rolling pin thinking that I had to have the right equipment.  My Methi Thepla were very flavorful, but I still need to work on the texture.  In the meantime, if you want to make the Red Lentil & Cauliflower Curry recipe below, I recommend that you purchase whatever flatbread you like, because you'll want to have something to soak up all the flavorful juices of the curry.  And once I master the recipe, I will definitely share it, especially if it's as good as the restaurant's! 

Red Lentil & Cauliflower Curry:

1 tbsp Canola Oil
1/2 medium onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp mild yellow curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
1 14 oz can tomato puree
3 1/2 cups filtered water
1 cup red lentils
1/2 head cauliflower florets, seamed
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
1-1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon

  • In a medium sauce pan, heat canola oil on medium low, add onion and saute for five minutes until tender.  Add garlic, ginger and spices and stir to combine.
  • Add tomato puree, water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Add lentils and stir to combine and reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 15 minutes until lentils are soft.
  • While lentils are cooking, steam cauliflower until crisp-tender.
  • Just before serving stir in cauliflower and frozen peas and heat through.
  • Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and serve with warmed flatbread.

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