A one-skillet dish, Curry Vegetables and Lentil Rice has bold, Indian-inspired flavors.
The Orono Farmers’ Market was loaded with greens last Saturday. Bags stuffed full with diminutive leaves of baby Swiss chard and beet greens. Big heads of lettuce — some curly, some smoother. Bunches of firm kale leaves in different varieties. And lots of radishes in a spectrum of hues.
The stalls loaded with greens are a sign that the lush variety of summer produce isn’t far behind. I picked up some baby beets with the greens attached, and took them home to saute with spring onions, garlic and carrots for a lunchtime side dish that day. It needed only a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and it was perfect — fresh and bold.
I love when the summer harvest comes to the farmers market. Every week is a little different, and I wait until I see what’s there to decide what we’ll eat for the week. It’s in-season eating at its best.
At Orono on Saturday, I picked up spinach, lettuce, baby greens and a few varieties of radishes. I also bought some carrots that went into both the sauteed beer dish and the curry dish that I am sharing with this week’s column.
Are you a fan of curries? I am. From the coconut milk-laced Thai curries to flavorful Indian curries, I adore the bold, nuanced flavors of them.
This vegetarian main dish is an Indian curry, where the blend of spices mix with lentils, rice and lots of veggies — carrots, onions and peas. Finished off with some fresh cilantro, it’s warm and filling. The seasonings in this include ginger and garlic, along with dried spices — cumin and garam masala, a spice blend.
Look for garam masala in the spice section of the grocery store. McCormick makes a version. So does Simply Organic and Frontier. If it’s not there, check the ethnic section. Also, I am reasonably certain you can find it at the Natural Living Center in Bangor, Whole Foods and Trader Joes in Portland. You can also order it online from Amazon, Penzey’s Spices and other retailers. But, in a pinch, you could substitute curry powder — though the flavor will be different (and might be spicier).
The next Orono Farmers’ Market will be held on Saturday in the Steam Plant Parking Lot from 8 a.m. to noon.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup diced fresh carrots
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger root
- ½ cup dried lentils, rinsed
- 2½ cups water
- ½ cup basmati rice
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tbsp lightly chopped fresh cilantro
- In a medium skillet set over medium heat, heat the oil. Once hot, add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, until softened -- about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and ginger to the skillet, stirring to combine. Cook for 3-5 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the lentils and toast for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the water to the skillet and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir the rice into the skillet until moistened, and then stir in the peas as well. Season with garam masala, cumin and salt. Cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
- Remove from heat, stir and taste. Season with additional salt, as needed.
- Sprinkle with cilantro just before serving