This is what I had for dinner tonight. I’m not kidding you. I can cook things like this now. About two years ago, it would have been off the table, but thanks to a few friends, I have leveled up.
There are so many things I love about this dish. It’s healthy with all of its lentils and vegetables, it’s easy to make and, most importantly, it is loaded with flavor. I hope some of you try this. It’s so simple but really impressive if you are cooking for friends, and we all know how good it feels to get unwarranted praise.
Here’s a kind of rough how-to guide. None of the measurements are exact. If you get the spices right (which is, like, totally the easiest thing) you can put nearly any vegetable you like in it. Play with it to find out what suits you.
adapted from Katie
1 cup lentils (I used some dal masoor I picked up at the Asian market a long time ago)
1 smallish bag of carrots (7 carrots, maybe?)
1 large onion
5 red potatoes
3 Roma tomatoes or one big tomato
1 small carton of mushrooms
1 box chicken broth or a few bouillon cubes and some water
2 or 3 chicken breasts (depending on how chickeny you like it)
1 cup of plain yogurt
garam masala (buy it at an international market or make your own.
Start with the chicken. If you are a vegetarian or trying to cut calories where you can, just leave this part out. It’s delicious without the meat, too. Dump about a cup of yogurt into a shallow baking dish. Add in a good bit of garam masala, something along the lines of a teaspoon. If you have it on hand, add in a little extra turmeric and coriander as well as a solid sprinkle of cinnamon. If you don’t have any of these on hand, just the garam masala is fine. Stir it all up. Chop up your chicken breasts and make sure they get all covered with the yogurt mix. Bake it until the chicken is cooked. I usually set my oven to 375° and let it go for about thirty minutes, stirring at the midpoint.
While that’s baking, get your lentils going. Rinse them off and put them in a pan with the onions and carrots, and any other vegetables you like that take forever to cook. Add in enough chicken broth to cover it all and cook it until the lentils are nearly but not entirely done. Ten or fifteen minutes should do the trick. Add nearly all the other vegetables to the pot. Mushrooms and tomatoes both cook really quickly, so save them until last. Add chicken broth as it cooks away. You want it to be moist but not watery. This isn’t a soup, so be sure to cook off all your liquid. Just be careful not to let it all burn to the pan.
When all the vegetables are finally ready and your lentils are the right texture, dump in a good lot of curry powder. Start with a teaspoon and go from there. Keep tasting and you’ll find what works for you. Stir it all up.
When the chicken is done baking, spoon the chicken pieces on top of a big bowl of the lentils. The yogurt separates in the oven, so it might be a little watery looking. Just pick out the chicken pieces and the thick parts of the yogurt. That’s where all the flavor is.