Friday Food Blog: Tomato tamarind curry

From Food

This dish came about with wish to bulk up my blood’s iron supply. Thus the lentils and kale, both of which are chock full of iron. I added pork because I had to use up a chop in my fridge, but you could easily go meat-free to make the dish entirely vegan, or deploy some tiny, sweet bay scallops in the final moments of cooking. I also wanted to use up the rest of the tamarind sauce in my fridge. Since the sauce came from a small local producer, I’ve suggested a substitution of tamarind juice and Worcestershire sauce. You might also try jerk sauce, if you have some around, but result will be spicier. The measurements for spice are approximate; I don’t recall exactly how much I used, and your tastes might be different. But I think you’ll find that you won’t need much, because the flavours of the other ingredients are strong enough on their own. If you do this right, you won’t be able to taste a single specific ingredient. My final result was silky, tangy, and filling. Enjoy.

You will need:

  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes, plus 1 can water
  • 200 mL (half a can) coconut milk
  • 1 cup green or brown lentils
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup dried banana chips
  • 1 pork chop, cut into bite-sized pieces (or go meat-free, or try scallops instead)
  • 1/3 cup tamarind juice
  • 1 TB (at least) Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large stock pot. Add onions, sweat for five minutes, then add garlic. Sweat for another moment, then add tomatoes, water, coconut milk, and lentils. Bring to a boil. (Be patient with those lentils. They need time to soften and cook properly. As in: at least an hour, more like ninety minutes.) Lower the heat. Add banana chips, carrots, and pork. Then season with the tamarind juice, Worcestershire, curry, and cumin. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat. When the curry has cooked for an hour, test the lentils. If they are soft, add the kale (if using scallops, add them now). The kale will need at most five minutes to wilt and brighten appropriately, at which point you can pull the stockpot off the heat, and give it a good stir before salting and peppering. If you need more heat at this point, some red pepper flakes will do.

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