What a favorite easy supper recipe, just healthy lentils and tofu for a vegetarian supper, or lentils and shrimp for omnivores who eat seafood. The Indian-style spices make the whole dish really come alive.
‘Concept recipes’ are big favorites here at Kitchen Parade.
They’re like families that get along, combinations of ingredients that come together easily as written. But like friendly families happy to have visitors, the recipes seem to sit up and beg for adjustments for taste preferences, on-hand ingredients and seasonal vegetables.
This lentil skillet supper is a classic concept recipe, one recipe with at least two entirely different outcomes.
The first recommended combination is red lentils and shrimp that’s creamy and comforting. Its cousin is black lentils with tofu that’s hearty and satisfying. Or if you like, go for red lentils with tofu and black lentils with shrimp.
The dishes are so different, serve them two nights in a row and no one will complain.
And if you’ve got chicken or pork tenderloin on hand? Perfect. What about adding dried fruit? Great. No cilantro? Try spinach. Not keen on cumin or curry? Go for thyme and sage. Serving more mouths? Add more vegetables.
While ever so different, each dish shares the common genes of every-day healthful ingredients paired with satisfying spices.
Now that’s a family concept to bring to the table for supper.
LIGHT VEGETABLE STOCK Homemade vegetable stock is easy to make and adds considerable flavor to dishes like Two-Way Lentil Skillet. Just combine 7 quarts of water with the peels from two potatoes, 1½ pounds of carrots, 4 celery ribs, 2 heads of garlic sliced cross-wise, some cilantro and parsley, salt, herbs of your choice and pepper corns. Let simmer for 2 – 3 hours, strain and transfer the liquid to freezer bags.
TWO-WAY LENTIL SKILLET
Time-to-table: 30 minutes for red lentils, 45 for black lentils
- 3 cups Light Vegetable Stock or water
- Splash of water
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
- 3/4 cup red lentils or black lentils, rinsed
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
SHRIMP or TOFU
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon cumin (preferably seeds with tofu and powder with shrimp)
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 8 ounces fresh shrimp or
- 12 ounces light extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cubed
LENTILS Bring 3 cups water to boil in microwave. In a large skillet, heat splash of water over medium heat, sauté onion and pepper til soft. Add garlic, ginger and salt; stir for a minute. Stir in lentils and hot water. Let simmer uncovered until lentils cook, about 20 minutes for red lentils and 30 for black. (While lentils cook, cook shrimp or tofu.) Stir in cilantro, shrimp or tofu. Serve and enjoy!
SHRIMP or TOFU Heat splash of water in a non-stick skillet, add spices and cook a minute. Stir in shrimp or tofu, cook til done, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes for shrimp and 15 for tofu.
LATER NOTES Since discovering Homemade Vegetable Bouillon, I rarely make vegetable stock. The bouillon lasts for a long time and uses freezer space much more efficiently, saving room for Homemade Chicken Stock.
A Lesson in Lentils
This recipe calls for 'black lentils' which are some times called 'black beluga lentils' but you may also use 'French lentils' (lentilles de Puy, pictured in the foreground) which are some times called 'green lentils'. Now, that's a lot of different names to remember but it's worth it. These lentils take a touch longer to cook but hold their shape, which red lentils (pictured in the background) and brown lentils, say, will not. See the lentil recipes for buying information.
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