Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Thai Lentils and Cabbage

Inspired by this recipe from Pinch of Yum, I decided to make my own version using ingredients I had on hand. My major substitutions were to use red lentils instead of brown, purple cabbage instead of green, and potatoes instead of squash. I didn't have the tom kha paste, so I tried to incorporate similar flavors with some ginger, coriander, and red curry sauce.

Here is my variation as well as a self-critique for future improvement! I served this with rice.

  • 1 cup red lentils (Pinch of Yum: 1 cup dried lentils or monggo beans)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (unchanged)
  • ~2 tsp minced ginger (not in Pinch of Yum recipe)
  • ~½ medium red onion, diced small (not in Pinch of Yum recipe)
  • A generous swoosh of grapeseed oil (Pinch of Yum: 1 tablespoon olive oil)
  • ½ head purple cabbage, shredded (Pinch of Yum: ½ head green cabbage, shredded)
  • 1 baking potato, cubed (Pinch of Yum: ½ large kabocha squash)
  • 1 can coconut milk (unchanged)
  • 2 tablespoons Trader Joe's Thai Red Curry Sauce (Pinch of Yum: 1½ tablespoons tom kha paste)
  • A few squirts of sriracha, salt and pepper to taste, ground coriander (Pinch of Yum: cayenne pepper, chili powder and salt)
  • Thai basil, half added near the end of cooking and half for topping (Pinch of Yum: fresh basil and chopped peanuts for topping)
I more or less followed the instructions on Pinch of Yum, with the exception that I used two separate pans to cook the cabbage and the potatoes (which replaced the squash) to speed things up a bit and then added the cabbage to the potatoes/coconut milk mixture.

A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE/CRITIQUE OF MY VERSION: Red lentils cook really fast, don't require soaking like brown lentils, and they turn to mush as they cook. I knew they cooked faster, but I didn't realize that after a quick soak and ~12 minutes of cooking the consistency would be similar to oatmeal :( Next time, I would only cook them ~3 minutes (just long enough to skim off some foam).

Started by sauteeing the onions, then adding the garlic and
ginger a minute or so before adding the cabbage.
I added sriracha and coriander to the potatoes while
sauteeing, then I added the curry sauce just before mixing
everything together.
Potatoes in the big pan, cabbage in the small, lentils in a
strainer (I added the extra juice to the potatoes, but I didn't
want them to get any mushier than they already were.
I mixed half the basil in with the cabbage
before combining all of it, then I sprinkled
the rest on top at the end.
Overall, the taste was very good. The texture was mediocre but could be improved by changing the way I cook the red lentils and by shortening the cooking time for the cabbage by a minute or two. I'd say this makes four servings (though the way we portioned it, it was only three, but I'm so full I can't move right now).

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