Today was a cold, Calgary winter day and this for dinner was the perfect remedy. I’ve adapted this recipe from Anupy Singha’s The Indian Slow Cooker, which is rapidly becoming my new favourite cookbook. My life is infinitely simpler when I can throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning before we head out to whatever the day holds and have dinner ready whenever the kids are; even better if it’s fantastic Indian food I would have been happy to pay for. Hope you enjoy this as much as we did.
Cook’s notes: I have decreased the amounts of both water and salt, as I found it to be a little too much of both, so this is how I will make it the next time around. And there will definitely be a next time around, this is a fantastic and easy weeknight dinner; the texture of the beans was perfect and the lentils added a surprisingly meaty element. For the sake of my young children I cut back the chilies to 2 and kept the red chili powder at the low end of the range. At that it had some back end heat, but that was about it; if you like things spicy I would go to 5 or 6 chilies and the full kick of red chili powder.
1 cup whole, dried black lentils with skin, cleaned and washed
1 cup dried chickpeas, cleaned and washed
1 cup dried kidney beans, cleaned and washed
3 each, bay leaves and green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 small onion (I used red, but yellow would work)
1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
4-6 green Thai, serrano, or cayenne chilies, stems removed (I used serrano)
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp turmeric
1tsp – 1tbsp red chili powder
1 Tbsp salt
2 heaping Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup plain yogurt
8 cups of water
1/4 cup whipping cream
1. Put the lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas and whole spices into the slow cooker (mine is a 5 quart and I think it needs to be that big).
2. In a food processor, blend the onion, ginger, garlic, and chilies into a paste.
3. In a dry frying pan, roast the cumin and coriander seeds over mediium high heat until fragrant, about 2-3 min, shaking the pan often to prevent burning. Transfer to a mortar for pounding or grind in a spice grinder.
4. Add the oil to your frying pan and add the onion mixture. Fry until lightly browned, stirring often, about 5 min, then add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chili powder and salt and cook until the smell assaults you and makes you cough (at least if you are me) about another 4-5 min. Add to slow cooker.
5. Add the water and the tomato paste to the slow cooker and cook on high for 6 1/2 hours.
6. Add the yogurt and cream and simmer for another half hour.
Serve over basmati rice or with fresh naan (that post is coming soon!).