This week, Chelsea, my summer intern, moved into her dorm, where she and three friends will share a suite with a kitchen and a brand new four-quart slow cooker. A few weeks ago, we tested this super-easy, budget-friendly recipe for slow cooker Indian-spiced lentils, paired with a cucumber raita that I'll post here later this week. Lentils, hardy and healthy, take particularly well to the spices that also warm up curries: cumin, coriander, ginger, and garam masala (which contains a bit of each). We used small brown lentils, the kind you can buy in bulk in an Indian grocery, but any brown or red lentils would be perfect. You can make this on the stovetop in a heavy pot or Dutch oven, but the lentils will tend to stick as they absorb liquid, so be sure to stir from time to time. Serve over basmati or brown rice, or add to stew or soup.
Slow cooker Indian-spiced lentils
2 cups small brown lentils, rinsed and drained
1 tsp ginger paste or grated fresh ginger root
3 cloves garlic, minced, or 1-1/2 tsp garlic paste
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves or stems, chopped (optional)
In a 3-quart slow cooker, add all ingredients. Stir to combine, and cover with water to within 1 inch of the top of the cooker.
Set to HIGH and cook for 2 hours, or cook on LOW for 4 hours, stirring once or twice during that time and checking that there is sufficient water in the cooker. If the lentils have absorbed most of the water before they finish cooking, add enough water to cover the lentils again.
After the cooking time, taste, and season with salt and cayenne pepper as needed. Add fresh coriander, if you wish, and serve hot. Or, pack into small containers, let cool completely, and refrigerate or freeze.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Spiced lentils with squash and raisins
Punjab five jewels
Slow cooker lentil and brown rice soup with preserved lemons and garlic sausage
Vegan barley and lentil pilaf with mushrooms and spinach
Sweet potato, lentil and raisin stew
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Indian spiced lentils with chicken slow cooker recipe, from A Year of Slow Cooking
Lebanese lentil salad with garlic, cumin, mint and parsley, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Armenian red lentil patties, from Cate's World Kitchen
Slow cooker squash stew with garbanzo beans and red lentils, from Andrea Meyers
Curried red lentil, chickpea and red kale soup, from Food Blogga
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