Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry (V, GF)

photo of kabocha squash-red lentil curry in white bowl on purple placemat on the dinner table

Community 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!

fresh ginger and bowl of spices for Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry

Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry (V, GF)
 
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Serves: 2 quarts
Ingredients
  • 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
  • ⅛ 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
Instructions
  1. Rinse red lentils several times and soak in a bowl with water for about an hour.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the chopped sweet potato, fennel, squash, zucchini, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 4 minutes.
  5. 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.
  6. Stir in coconut milk. Season with tamari and ume vinegar (or sea salt). Heat until simmering.
  7. Add fresh herbs and turn off heat.
  8. 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.

Sign up for this year’s cookoff!

And by the way, get your tickets here for the 2018 AFBA Oodles of Noodles cookoff on September 23rd. It will be an experience to remember!

Please let me know if you’d like to chat about on-demand cooking lessons, corporate team building, dinner parties, or yoga retreat catering.

Quinoa Kitchadi with Vegetables, Turmeric, and Ginger

quinoa kitchadi

Kitchadi, a one-pot meal from the Ayurvedic tradition, is considered very healing and nourishing (or sattvic), and is typically made with split mung beans (moong dal), basmati rice, digestive spices, ghee or oil, and non-starchy vegetables. Here I am using quinoa, moong dal, and coconut oil, but you may experiment with different grains and beans for variety.

Kitchadi is soothing to the digestion, as it contains turmeric and ginger, it is cooked until soft in texture, and it is served warm.  It contains complex carbohydrates, good quality fats, and vegetables, which help to regulate blood sugar.

Kitchadi is a go-to breakfast meal at my home, when I am wanting something heartier than miso soup, but still want something soothing to the digestion. It seems to work as a “reset button” if I am having stomach troubles or just lacking appetite. I make enough so that I can have leftovers for lunch or breakfast the next day, adding some fresh greens and herbs when reheating.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Quinoa Kitchadi with Vegetables, Turmeric, and Ginger
 
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Ayurvedic
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • ½ cup moong dal (split mung beans), rinsed and soaked overnight then drained
  • ½ cup quinoa (tan or mixture of red and tan), rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ teaspoon organic turmeric powder
  • 2 cups sliced vegetables (such as zucchini, carrot, celery, butternut squash)
  • 3-4 cups filtered or spring water, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • lemon, cut in wedges, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot on medium heat and add coconut oil. Add soaked moong dal and stir to coat well with the oil. Add quinoa and mix into dal. Toast on medium heat for a minute or two, then add ginger and turmeric and saute for a minute more.
  2. Add 2 cups water, stirring to make sure quinoa and dal are not sticking to the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil, then turn to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add vegetables, sea salt, and additional water (1-2 cups) to achieve desired consistency (it can either be soft or a bit soupy). Simmer another 10 minutes, or until quinoa and dal are very soft.
  4. Add a few grinds of black pepper. Taste for seasonings. If it seems too dry, add more coconut oil.
  5. Serve in a bowl garnished with fresh cilantro and lemon.

 

Fresh Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Ginger

cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce is a beautiful accompaniment for holiday meals, and so much better than any of the canned varieties. Fresh cranberries are sweetened with raisins and apple juice and flavored with orange and ginger, to give it a fresh, zesty taste. There is minimal prep involved, and the recipe can be doubled if you are feeding a crowd!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce
 
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Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1½ cups apple juice
  • 2 cups cranberries
  • pinch unrefined sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (or more to taste)
Instructions
  1. In medium saucepan, cook raisins in apple juice for about 10 minutes. Add cranberries and sea salt.
  2. Cover, turn down to low, and simmer until cranberries have popped.
  3. Remove lid and reduce sauce to desired consistency. Keep in mind that sauce will gel more when refrigerated.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in orange zest and ginger juice.

I like to use a microplane zester for both the orange zest and grated ginger. Be careful to very lightly zest the very outer portion of the orange peel, so that you don’t get the bitter white pith in your sauce. Sometimes I will squeeze the juice out of the grated ginger pulp and add that to the sauce rather than including the pulp.

Here is a meal using fresh cranberry sauce that I have been making for my students at The Natural Epicurean to demonstrate Fall Macrobiotic Cooking and Menu Planning. Clockwise from the top: millet-cauliflower mash with mushroom sauce, nishime style vegetables and pan-fried tempeh, fresh cranberry sauce, daikon pickle, and blanched greens with tahini-parsley dressing.

cranberry-sauce
Fall macrobiotic meal featuring fresh cranberry sauce with orange and ginger

Enjoy!

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