The weather has been exceptionally COLD lately. Like really, REALLY, painfully cold. I get it. We live in Toronto, Canada. It’s supposed to be cold during winter. The best way to counteract the cold weather is to dress warmly, with layers and layers of clothing, thick socks, a winter coat, snow boots, a hat, a scarf and gloves or mittens. It’s not rocket science. Another way to deal with this extreme cold is to eat warming foods like this creamy, coconuty, gingery split lentil stew.
Just as an aside, I didn’t follow a recipe. I sort of made this stew up as I went along and I added things that I already had in my kitchen. Feel free to use what you like in terms of vegetables and also what you have on hand. You can add diced potatoes, zucchini, peas, whatever. I’m following an anti-inflammatory diet so I chose ingredients that I know will agree with me.
1 1/2 cups orange split lentils (rinsed)
3 – 4 carrots sliced into coins
3 – 4 stalks celery sliced
2 – 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 small purple onion, roughly chopped
small knob of fresh ginger about 1 tablespoon, roughly chopped
3/4 to 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (plain)
1/2 cup of coconut manna or 1 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 tsp sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 cups boiled water for cooking lentils (I find cold water slows down the cooking process)
Heat the olive oil in a pot on medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic, carrots and celery together with the olive oil. Cover with lid for a few minutes to sweat.
When the vegetables have sweated after about 4 – 5 minutes, add the ginger and the pumpkin. You may also need to add some (about 1/2 cup) of the boiled water to this mixture to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the base.
Continue to cook, gently stirring. At this point you may also add the salt and turmeric. Also, lower the heat a bit. Now proceed to add approximately 3 to 4 cups of hot water and add the lentils. The lentils will absorb much of the liquid in the pot so you want to make sure there is enough water for them to cook completely.
Put the lid back on your pot and continue to boil the stew at a slightly lower temperature than earlier to avoid scorching the base of your pot. I find that things can stick very easily once the lentils have been added.
Allow the lentils to turn mushy and then add your coconut manna or your coconut milk. You can use whichever you have on hand. The manna melted like butter into the stew and developed a creamy consistency. Note: If you add coconut milk, you may want to refrain from adding too much water to your lentils in the earlier step (above). You don’t want your stew to get too soupy.
And that is it. Take a spoon to taste a bit of the stew when you feel it is finished. Make any flavour adjustments. Add more salt if you like or more coconut milk. Give everything a good stir. Remove from heat when the lentils have turned mushy and the veggies are soft.
Enjoy the warming and nutritious effects of this hearty stew.