I had a first yesterday afternoon: I drew a complete blank on batch cooking. I needed to make at least two meals for dinners this week, and I couldn’t settle on anything. Looks like my meal prep stamina is starting to flag.
Since it was Cinco de Mayo, I made the enchiladas from Power Plates, which are a favorite at home. But I needed something else. This dish of curried potatoes, lentils and peas was my answer. It’s not markedly different from a lot of other curries and Indian-inspired stews I made, but it’s simpler and probably more versatile. The texture is just soupy enough that you can mop it up with flatbread or pita or serve it over rice, but the potatoes give it a lot of texture and heft if you’d prefer to eat it on its own.
No matter how many times I make a dish like this—something starchy, creamy, and richly spiced—I never seem to tire of the formula. I added cashew cream to the mix, which is my go-to, but you can most definitely use coconut milk instead. I like the use of russet potatoes here, but for a sweeter version, sweet potatoes or even Japanese yams would be pretty great, too.
- 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil, such as safflower or grapeseed
- 1 white or yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 cups water
- 3 medium/large russet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1 3/4-2 lbs)
- 1 cup toor dal (split yellow lentils) or red lentils
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (more as needed)
- 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen & defrosted
- 4-5 cups chopped spinach or whole baby spinach leaves
- 3/4 cup cashew cream or full-fat, canned coconut milk
- juice of 1 lime
Heat the oil in a roomy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and clear.
Add the water, potatoes, lentils, curry, turmeric, ginger, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through.
Add the peas and spinach. Cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the cashew cream or coconut milk and lime. Taste the stew and adjust salt and lime as needed. Serve.
Having spent so many years doing my best to make recipes as creative as possible, I’m now sticking to ingredient combinations that are as tried-and-true as they can be. Half the time I cook from Power Plates and Vegan, which isn’t so bad: it allows me to revisit those recipes and be reminded of why I love them.
Still, I can’t pretend that I’m not eager to once again find myself in a place where I’m testing new recipes and feeling inspired while I do it. I’ve fed myself well this year, in spite of the hectic schedule, but creativity feels stalled right now on a lot of fronts. This last stretch, from now through August, feels long, but I know it’ll fly by, and I’m hoping that a renewed sense of energy in the kitchen will follow. In the meantime, if you have any vegan recipe requests, feel free to share! It’ll be good inspiration for me.
In the spirit of not doing or saying more than I need to, I’m keeping this post short and sweet so that I can settle into my first few days of food service. Have a great week, all.