Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Curried Lentil Stew with Vegetables #BookClubCookbookCC

I joined a new club and I am so excited about it.  My first recipe for the Book Club Cookbook Club is inspired by the book Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri.

First, if you are wondering what this club is all about and how you can join us, here is all the info you need:

We are a group of bloggers organized by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla (this link will you bring you to the invitation to join in.)  Every month we draw inspiration from a book and recipes we find in The Book Club Cookbook. One of the bloggers will choose a book from this cookbook and invite the rest of us, and anyone else that would like to join in, to draw inspiration from the book and/or the cookbook and create a recipe.  There is an announcement post that will come out at the beginning of the month and a recipe roundup at the end of the month.  That gives everyone who wants to join in a month to create a delicious book inspired recipe.  Did I mention at the end of the month a giveaway will take place and you can win this awesome cookbook?

This months book choice is Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. This book is actually a collection of nine short stories taking place in either India or America and focuses on adjusting to new life, new jobs or to marriage.  A common theme throughout the book is food.  Every single chapter mentions foods, flavors or smells as reminders of home.

I decided to jot down every time I read a recipe or mention of food and noticed that lentils were mentioned quite often throughout the various stories.  I decided to search for a recipe using lentils as my book inspired recipe for this month.  I chose a recipe from my Gourmet Today cookbook for Curried Lentil Stew.

The flavors in this dish were strong and delicious.  I had it on the stove for a while simmering away and every time someone came to the door, they commented on how delicious it smelled in the house.  If I could turn this into a candle I would...would you buy my garlic, ginger, curry and cumin candles?

A few variations to the original recipe that I had to make were to swap out the red lentils for green.  I couldn't find red ones in my store.  I also left the peas out of this recipe.  I normally have bags and bags of frozen peas in my freezer and took for granted they were there.  I went to grab them at the end of the recipe and realized I had none.  The last modification was to the spicy oil.  I don't have cumin seeds in the house so I decided to use  ground cumin in its place to create the spiced oil  - it worked!  

recipe adapted from  Gourmet Today
6 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of ginger (I used the squeeze bottle kind) or 1, 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into quarters.
5 large garlic cloves, chopped
6 cups of water
1 1/2 teaspoons of curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup lentils
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 cups of baby spinach leaves
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon of cumin seeds or powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a pot over moderately high heat and add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat a bit and let onions sweat for 8 minutes or until golden.

While the onions are cooking, add the garlic and ginger to the blender with 1/3 cup of water and puree.  Add this puree to the onions and let cook until the water evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add in the curry, cumin and turmeric, reduce heat to low and cook until fragrant, stirring for about 1 minute.
Stir in the lentils and 5 cups of water, bring to a simmer and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes  Stir this mixture occasionally.

Add the carrots and 3/4 teaspoon of salt to the lentils and simmer until the carrots are tender and the lentils have broken down to a puree (the green lentils don't break down) 40 - 50 minutes.  Keep an eye on the water level and add more water as needed to keep the lentils and carrots covered. 

Add in the spinach and peas and simmer while stirring until the spinach wilts a bit and the peas have thawed.  Stir in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Just before serving, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a small skillet and add the cumin and red pepper to the pan.  Stir often and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Pour this over the lentils and top with cilantro. 

Serve over rice with a side of roasted cauliflower.

Here are the other bloggers participating in this great year long adventure:
Cheese Curd In Paradise               
Life on Food       
The Pajama Chef              
The Spiffy Cookie             
Things I Make (for Dinner)           
Tortillas and Honey         


And to kick-off the event, Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla, this month's host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!

One of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authorsby Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy ofTarcher-Penguin.Giveaway runs from July 1st till July 31st at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: Camilla received a complimentary copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp to use in this year-long project plus the opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

*this post contains affiliate links


  1. Sounds delicious Danielle. I love lentils.

  2. Oh, that book club sounds so fun! And I've actually read that book, and loved it. =) This recipe is a great choice for that book, and it looks scrumptious. =) (By the way, apologies if you get this comment twice - I wasn't sure if it went through the first time, so I submitted it twice in a row).

  3. I love lentils and can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing it! I'd buy that savory candle anyday!

  4. I love that you tracked food throughout the book. I am going to steal that for the August book. This recipe looks amazing.

  5. Looks great! So far, I have been reading Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover.

  6. Hi Danielle,
    What a fun club to participate with and a great group. Your Stew looks fantastic! Hope you are having a wonderful day and thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen


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