Curried Potatoes, Lentils & Peas
May 6, 2019

I had a first yesterday afternoon: I drew a complete blank on batch cooking. I needed to make at least two meals for dinners this week, and I couldn’t settle on anything. Looks like my meal prep stamina is starting to flag.

Since it was Cinco de Mayo, I made the enchiladas from Power Plates, which are a favorite at home. But I needed something else. This dish of curried potatoes, lentils and peas was my answer. It’s not markedly different from a lot of other curries and Indian-inspired stews I made, but it’s simpler and probably more versatile. The texture is just soupy enough that you can mop it up with flatbread or pita or serve it over rice, but the potatoes give it a lot of texture and heft if you’d prefer to eat it on its own.

No matter how many times I make a dish like this—something starchy, creamy, and richly spiced—I never seem to tire of the formula. I added cashew cream to the mix, which is my go-to, but you can most definitely use coconut milk instead. I like the use of russet potatoes here, but for a sweeter version, sweet potatoes or even Japanese yams would be pretty great, too.

Curried Potatoes, Lentils & Peas

Author -
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil, such as safflower or grapeseed
  • 1 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 medium/large russet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1 3/4-2 lbs)
  • 1 cup toor dal (split yellow lentils) or red lentils
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (more as needed)
  • 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen & defrosted
  • 4-5 cups chopped spinach or whole baby spinach leaves
  • 3/4 cup cashew cream or full-fat, canned coconut milk
  • juice of 1 lime

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a roomy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and clear.
  • Add the water, potatoes, lentils, curry, turmeric, ginger, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through. 
  • Add the peas and spinach. Cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the cashew cream or coconut milk and lime. Taste the stew and adjust salt and lime as needed. Serve. 

Notes

You can substitute 1/4 cup broth or water for the oil if you like.

Having spent so many years doing my best to make recipes as creative as possible, I’m now sticking to ingredient combinations that are as tried-and-true as they can be. Half the time I cook from Power Plates and Vegan, which isn’t so bad: it allows me to revisit those recipes and be reminded of why I love them.

Still, I can’t pretend that I’m not eager to once again find myself in a place where I’m testing new recipes and feeling inspired while I do it. I’ve fed myself well this year, in spite of the hectic schedule, but creativity feels stalled right now on a lot of fronts. This last stretch, from now through August, feels long, but I know it’ll fly by, and I’m hoping that a renewed sense of energy in the kitchen will follow. In the meantime, if you have any vegan recipe requests, feel free to share! It’ll be good inspiration for me.

In the spirit of not doing or saying more than I need to, I’m keeping this post short and sweet so that I can settle into my first few days of food service. Have a great week, all.

xo

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    14 Comments
  1. Have made this twice already. It’s comforting and delicious! The second time I added celery and cajun seasoning.

  2. Hi Gena, I had a hard time with this recipe, and I was hoping you could help me troubleshoot it. My grocery store didn’t carry toor dal, so I used split yellow lentils from the bulk section. I added the five cups of water and other ingredients, covered the pot and simmered it over low heat for 30 minutes. At that point, the lentils were probably three quarters of the way cooked, but there was so much liquid left in the pot — it was like a very brothy soup. I simmered it uncovered for another ten minutes, at which point the lentils were cooked, but there was still a lot of liquid left. After another ten or fifteen minutes, the excess water had been absorbed, but at that point the lentils and potatoes had really broken down, and the consistency was very different than yellow lentils I have cooked in the past or from the pictures in your post. The taste was still very good, but I don’t think my finished product is the same as yours. Do you know if toor dal needs a different ratio of water than split yellow lentils? Or should I have simmered it uncovered the entire time? I have followed your blog for years and have always had success with your recipes — this one just stumped me and I’m just trying to figure it out. Thank you!

    • Hi Cari!

      I’m a little stumped too, and I’m so sorry it didn’t turn out. I’ve always had the understanding that toor dal and split yellow lentils are exactly the same, but your comment does remind me that I’ve purchased both, and what I’ve seen labeled as true “toor dal” always looks a little bigger than yellow split lentils, which are super thin (and loo like red lentils to me).

      So I guess my theory is that yellow split lentils may be more delicate and result in something soupier than what I got. Maybe I should update the recipe to list yellow split peas as a potential substitute for toor dal instead. In any case, if you do wish to make it again, I’d try that, and I wouldn’t be afraid to add one cup less water, then add more at the end if it’s actually thicker than you want.

      I hope that this helps! Thanks for letting me know.

      G

      • Hi Gena,

        Thank you so much for responding! I will definitely try making this dish again, either with toor dal as written or (if I can’t find them) with yellow lentils or yellow split peas with less water. The dish I ended up with was still very good (even if it wasn’t the way it should have been), so now I am very curious to see what would happen if I try again and adjust the water amount if needed. I’m sure my family will love it!

  3. I’ve made this dish three times already, but somehow I’m still pleasantly surprised each time I taste a new batch. It’s warm, comforting, and easy. Some small adjustments: I used collard greens instead of spinach, and I added carrots. Oh, and it freezes well. Absolutely delicious. Thanks for posting.