Today’s recipe is a real powerhouse, full of gut friendly and flora enhancing ingredients. Don’t be put off by the slightly long ingredient list – half of it is just spices that are commonly found in any grocer. Spices and herbs are not only good but the good bacteria in your gut actually thrive on them because they are full of antioxidants, and mixing several different spices together only makes it better.
This recipe also embraces Food Pharmacy’s half & half cooking philosophy. Simply explained, half & half is referring to consuming both cold/raw and warm/cooked foods because our gut flora loves raw vegetables. Think raw vegetables added to a hot soup, or cooked fish served with a raw salad. You can read more on that whole topic here.
Today’s lentil dish is served with grated raw carrots, spinach and cilantro..
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon of chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cold-pressed coconut oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons ginger grated (or 1 tablespoon ground)
1 tablespoon of fresh turmeric grated (or 2 teaspoons ground)
1 ⅓ cup red lentils
¼ cup of organic raisins
1 can crushed tomatoes (500 g)
1 ¾ cup water
1 ½ cup coconut milk
5 carrots, finely grated
100 g organic baby spinach
1 package fresh cilantro
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a heavy bottomed pot start by sautéing the dried spices on low heat in oil until they begin to be fragrant. Add onions and garlic and cook until slightly softened. Throw in the ginger, turmeric, lentils, raisins, tomatoes, water and coconut milk, and simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes until you have a creamy lentil stew. Stir every now and then. Adjust thickness by adding water as desired. Remove from heat once the lentils are done and allow it to stand covered for awhile prior to serving so the seasons can melt together and deepen the flavor.
Grate the carrots (scrub well and keep the skin to maximize nutritional content) and rinse spinach. Then mix the carrots, spinach and fresh coriander together to garnish the stew just before serving. Save a little to have alongside as well. Done!
If you want to kick it up a notch, you could add a dollop of coconut yoghurt and a little apple chutney (cook up some apples with a little cinnamon, cardamom and ginger). And if you don’t like fresh cilantro, try replacing it with Thai Basil – it will be just as good!
Pre-mix a large batch of the spices into a mixture and keep around for future meals. Take all 5 spices for example and store in a jar. Next time it’s time for a lentil stew or soup, just take 3 tablespoons of the mixture instead of measuring each spice everytime. Easy as pie!