Curried Lentils and Vegetables

Tina Wasserman
Recipe by
Tina Wasserman

In the 17th through 19th centuries, British, Dutch, and Portuguese traders sailing the Spice Route made a mandatory stop in the Moluccas (Spice Islands) for nutmeg, mace, and cloves; and Sri Lanka and the Malabar Coast (on the southwestern tip of India) for their exclusively grown Malabar cinnamon and Malabar black pepper. These spices, plus the chilies and cardamom from inland routes, were the basis of many of the region’s curry spice blends.

Contrary to popular belief, curry powder is not a single spice but in fact a blend of many spices (seven in this recipe). Here, the combination of spices with tomato is indicative of New Delhi origins.

Learn more about the history of Indian Jewry and find more Jewish Indian recipes.

1 cup red lentils
2 medium onions, chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 good pinches of ground cloves
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
3 yellow crookneck squash, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 cup vegetable broth
1⁄2 6-ounce can of tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 8-oz. can chickpeas, drained
3 cups of cooked basmati or jasmine rice (1 cup raw rice + 2 cups water)
1⁄2 cup roasted peanuts
1⁄2 cup unflavored yogurt (thick Greek yogurt is best)
  1. Boil the lentils in water to cover for approximately 25 minutes, until they are soft but not mushy. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil. Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onions are soft and the garlic is light golden.
  3. Mix in the spices and vegetables and sauté for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the broth, tomato paste, chickpeas, and salt (if needed). Cover and simmer for about 8 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Drain the lentils and add to the vegetables. Stir in the nuts and serve over the rice with yogurt if desired.


Additional Notes
  • Try to avoid using curry powder-cooking with fresh individual spices produces an incomparable flavor.