For years, curries were not in my repertoire. I think it was something about trying to land the perfect thick and creamy texture that kept me from trying to create them. Once I dipped my toes into making curries at home, I quickly realized that the key to creating perfect curries was to add the right kind of fat. Whether in the form of coconut milk or nut butters (or a combination of both), it guaranteed a level of richness and a nice, thick curry. It has now grown to be one of my favourite go-to dishes when there is “nothing in the fridge”. It is the perfect catch-all for an assortment of bits and bobs, including vegetables on their last legs and random half items in the fridge, as they all get hugged up by a creamy sauce and are unified as one.
This recipe was created while visiting my aunt in Winnipeg a few falls back. I decided a curry would be the perfect dish to make with the collection of vegetables we had on hand - a few potatoes and onions, some tomatoes and ginger, half a large zucchini and a small, sad sweet potato. A quick check of the pantry and I realized we had no coconut milk (the best guaranteed way to maximize creaminess). Nut butters were also out, so I had to think up a quick and easy way to add some richness to the mix. Being in Manitoba, we had an abundance of hemp hearts in the fridge (grown locally!), so I decided to attempt making some sort of hemp cream by blending them in water. What resulted was an exceptionally creamy, somewhat earthy hemp cream, which ended up being the secret to a next-level savoury curry that had an almost meaty heartiness to it.
Use what you’ve got and give this humble little cream a try - it is guaranteed to offer a delicious new twist on curries.
CREAMY LENTIL CURRY WITH TOMATO, POTATO & HEMP
Makes 1 large pot
1 small onion, diced
2 inch knob ginger, peeled and minced
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 Tbs coconut oil
1 heaping tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 dash cinnamon
4 medium-sized potatoes, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 small sweet potato, diced
1 cup dry lentils
6 cups (6 large) tomatoes, diced, used separately
2 cups spring water
2 cups hemp cream
Small handful parsley, chopped
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, saute onion and ginger in coconut oil over medium heat until fragrant, but not browned (2-3 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
Push the onions and ginger to the side of the pan and add curry powder, cumin, cardamom, garam masala and cinnamon. Stir them into the oil for 1 minute.
Add potatoes, zucchini and sweet potatoes to the pan and stir to combine. Saute for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add lentils and stir into the other vegetables. Add 5 1/2 cups tomatoes and stir to combine.
Add water and stir. Once the liquid begins to bubble, lower the temperature slightly and cover.
Once the potatoes and lentils are tender (about 20 mins), stir in hemp cream and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and top with remaining 1/2 cup tomatoes and parsley. Serve with brown rice or your grain of choice.