Cookoffs are a delicious way to bring people together!
It’s almost time again for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance (AFBA) Annual Community Cookoff! This year’s theme is “Oodles of Noodles” and will be held on Sunday, September 23, 2018 from 2-4 pm at the Brew & Brew. It will be a celebration of carbs and the recipes of many chefs working hard to please your palate!
This year’s cookoff motivated me to post about last year’s AFBA 2017 Collossal Curry Cookoff. As a brand new member of the AFBA, I decided to enter my Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry in the cookoff. I was a bit scared, but I thought it would be a good way to meet my fellow AFBA members and showcase the type of food that I cook.
Curries don’t have to be hot to be flavorful, aromatic, and delicious!
I was excited for people to try my vegan curry which was not at all hot and spicy. I wanted to make the curry flavorful (with sweet kabocha squash, fennel, sweet potato, and curry leaves) and spicy rather than hot (with ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon). I also used red lentils to give the curry great body, flavor, and texture. Yum!
- 1 cup red lentils
- 3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
- 1 cup sweet onion, finely diced
- ½ cup carrot, finely diced
- ½ cup celery, finely diced
- 2 fronds fresh curry leaves, chiffonade or 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 cup sweet potato, small dice
- 1 cup fennel bulb, small dice
- 2 cups kabocha or butternut squash, small dice
- 1 cup zucchini, small dice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 2 cups filtered or spring water
- 1 teaspoon tamari, or to taste (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar, or to taste (optional)
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonade
- lemon or lime wedges, for garnish
- Rinse red lentils several times and soak in a bowl with water for about an hour.
- Heat heavy-bottomed soup pot on medium heat. When hot, add coconut oil, onion, and pinch of sea salt. Sauté on medium heat until soft.
- Add the carrot, celery, curry leaves or bay leaf, ginger, and garlic and sauté on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Stir in powdered spices.
- Add the chopped sweet potato, fennel, squash, zucchini, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 4 minutes.
- Drain red lentils and add them to the vegetable sauté. Add water, bring to a boil, then turn to low and simmer until lentils and vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in coconut milk. Season with tamari and ume vinegar (or sea salt). Heat until simmering.
- Add fresh herbs and turn off heat.
- Serve on top of rice with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
3rd place finish!
After a few hours of curry tasting and ballot casting, I was thrilled to get a 3rd place finish, and went home with various gift cards and goodies from local businesses. It ended up being such a fun day!
I hope you’ll try making this recipe when you are in the mood for something sweet, savory, and nourishing. It is delicious with basmati rice and a crisp green side salad. I also add baby spinach when warming up leftovers to give it some freshness.
Join me for a Cooking Class!
Please let me know if you’d like to chat about on-demand cooking lessons, corporate team building, dinner parties, or yoga retreat catering.