Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Winter Roasted Root Vegetable and Lentil Curry

This isn't so much a recipe (you can find one here) as it is an addition to my ongoing love affair with Indian Food and something I have been doing for a while that worked so well last night when I served the above lentil and root vegetable curry.

On Monday I went to the Union Square green market and bought a hug amount of root vegetables, Celeriac, Heirloom Carrots, Parsnips and Potatoes - the whole lot cost me $7.

When I got them home I peeled and chopped them, putting most of them in a bag in the fridge ready for roasting the next day.  I took a couple of handfuls and put them aside to add to the lentil curry I was making.  As you probably know soups, stews, curries all taste better when made the day before.

I made the curry in a traditional Indian style, using a base of fresh ginger and hot peppers cooked in oil, then added spices and some crushed tomatoes which I cooked for about 10 minutes before I added the lentils, root vegetable and some water and let simmer for several hours. In Indian they don't use onions and garlic in curries, traditionally, as the Ayurvedic  belief is that they cause wind ...

So last night as I was reheating my lentil curry I put the rest of the prepared root vegetables into a bowl and tossed them with a little bit of oil and spread them out onto a cookie and roasted them at 400 F until the got nice and browned, turning them over at least once half way through (about 35 minutes).

While they were roasting in the oven I added about 1 Tablespoon of cumin seeds into a skillet and over medium heat and roasted them until they turned golden brown, then took them off the heat and ground them in my mortar and pestle, but only partially you want to have some complete seeds and some ground ones.  This gives off a heavenly smell.

Just before serving I toss the roasted root vegetables with salt (to taste), the roughly ground cumin seeds and the juice of a lemon.  I served them in a bowl on the side so my guest could pile them on top of his lentil root veg curry then dollop on some thick Greek yogurt and sprinkle with fresh cilantro to his taste.  The roasted root vegetables add a wonderful texture to the stewed curry and takes a simple dish and makes it dinner party worthy.  This is a simple trick that can be used with any soup or stew you want to make more hearty or add an extra crunch too.

The other thing that is often done in bean/lentil based Indian curries is that just before serving lemon juice or Amchoor is stirred into the stew to give it a wonderful citric punch.  Amchoor is dried, ground green mango powder, in this instance you get the one two punch of both the Amchoor and the lemon juice in the roasted root vegetable.

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