As I stare at that huge box of lentils, I have challenged myself to make at least one lentil dish every week. Hopefully, if I keep it up the lentils will be gone by the end of the year… Seriously, there’s so many!
This one was a winner, my fireman liked it and my lovely Mother In Law really liked the leftovers he brought over during a visit. I thought it was quite tasty for that matter too. I love the exciting flavors of Caribbean food that came from the mixing of African, Indian and European cooking styles using American ingredients. It’s also quite convenient that most of the spices necessary for creating some magical Caribbean flavors are probably already in your pantry. (If not they’re in your regular grocery store) Also, serving this lentil stew with rice and flatbread really stretched out a little bag of lentils into a big meal with tons of leftovers.
Caribbean Lentil Stew– served with jasmine rice and roti (whole wheat flatbreads)
Serves 6-8 – cost approx $.53 per serving per serving, including sides
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs ginger, minced
- 1 small onion, small dice ($.37)
- 2 carrots, small dice ($.10)
- 1/2 bell pepper, small dice ($.50)
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp corriander
- cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp garam masala or 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 inch cinnamon stick or 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lb lentils, soaked in cold water ($1 in most stores)
- 6-8 cups vegetable stock
- cornstarch (optional)
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, minced ($.25)
Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large pot. Saute the garlic and ginger 30 seconds or until wonderfully fragrant. Add in the onion, carrot and bell pepper and saute another 3-5 minutes. Add in all the spices (all the ingredients in the second set and saute 1 minute. Heating the spices helps to bring out all their wonderful flavors!
Add in the lentils and cover with enough vegetable stock to just cover the lentils. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are fully cooked, you may have to add more stock if it starts cooking down too much. If you want it more soupy (and boy would it make a yummy soup!) you can add more stock, if you want a thicker stew you can thicken it up with a little cornstarch slurry, the power is all in your hands.
Taste your wonderful stew and add salt to taste. Garnish with cilantro and yum it up with rice and or some hot flatbreads!