Growing up, my family thrived on meals based on meat and potatoes. Venison and potatoes to be exact. We didn't have much else, and the major variance between meals was whether we drowned them in butter or ketchup. And since we only went into town for supper at a restaurant on birthdays, I wasn't exposed to many culinary delights outside of the barbeque arena.
When I met Jason, all of that changed. We ate out several nights a week. Even "American" food seemed foreign to me, but I grew to love trying new things. I still vividly remember the first time I ever tried lentil curry. We were visiting Jason's grandparents, Mema and Papa, and the strong aroma of the spices completely permeated the entire little house. When served my plate, I was not entirely impressed by what, in my opinion, appeared to be gruel with a hard-boiled egg on top of it. Admittedly, after dutily cleaning my plate, I was not sure what I thought because it was so different from anything I'd ever had.
Fast forward twelve or thirteen years, and Mema's lentil curry is one of my all-time favorite dishes. Primarily because it tastes so stinkin' delicious, but also because I make one batch that lasts three days. Bonus: it is incredibly healthy.
I'm going to share with you my rendition of Mema's curry...I toned down the hot factor a bit so that Wyatt can easily eat it, too. Also, I use saffron rice instead of Mema's white rice.
2 chicken breasts or 4 chicken thighs
2 chicken buillon cubes
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, chopped
2-3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 lb dried lentils, rinsed
1/2-1 tsp ground red pepper (to taste)
1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper (to taste)
1 tbsp red curry powder (more or less to taste...start small)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 hard-boiled egg per serving
1 cup saffron rice per serving, prepared according to package directions
1. Fill a large pot with enough water to cover chicken and bring to a boil. Add buillon cubes. Boil chicken until cooked through. Remove chicken, shred or chop into bite-size pieces, then return to water.
2. Add lentils, bell pepper, onion, and celery. Water should just cover lentils...add more if needed (or if you're like me, ladle some out!). Add ground red pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic, and curry powder.
3. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are cooked (they'll still be firm...if you want them softer, add 1/2 tsp salt during step 2).
4. Serve on top of an equal portion of saffron rice with a hard-boiled egg. FYI: You chop up the egg and stir it all together, then eat.