In the Kitchen: Curried Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Chard

I found this recipe in the New York Times. It's staggeringly delicious and so simple. The original recipe regards it as a stew, to be served in a bowl. In my opinion, it cries out for a dish of good rice. This freezes well, so don't worry about having too many leftovers.

I'm always paranoid that links will go dead, so I'm including the recipe here:

  • 2 T. oil, olive or whatever
  • medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (I just chopped it)
  • 1-1/2 t. garam masala (*)
  • 1-1/2 t. curry powder
  • jalapeno pepper, or other hot pepper, seeded and minced (or, if you're that kind of person, leave the seeds in)
  • 4-5 c. vegetable broth (I used chicken)
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in 1/2 inch cubes (s. potatoes are the ORANGE ones)
  • 1-1/2 c. dried lentils (I used basic brown ones)
  • bay leaf
  • pound of chard, ribs removed, leaves sliced thin
  • 1 t. or more of kosher salt, ground pepper to taste
  • 1/3 c. chopped cilantro
  • grated zest of one lime
  • juice of half a lime (I added the juice of the whole thing)
  • 1/3 c. chopped almonds for garnish (optional; I opted out)
  • 1/4 c. chopped scallions for garnish (I forgot them)


In a large saucepan (I used a large skillet), heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, saute until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, curry powder, and hot pepper. Cook, stirring, for a minute.

Stir in 4 c. of broth, the potatoes and lentils and bay leaf. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium or lower, and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes. (If the lentils look too dry, add more broth.) Add chard, salt, and pepper, and continue cooking until the lentils are soft and chard is cooked.

Just before dishing, add the cilantro, lime zest and juice. Garnish with almonds and scallions. Or not.

* I make garam masala using the recipe in Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Cooking.

  • 1.5 T. of black cardamom seeds
  • 1.5 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 T. whole cloves
  • 1/8 c. black peppercorns
  • 1/4 c. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 c. coriander seeds

Crush the cinnamon sticks with a mallet or rolling pin (or the nearest hard-headed person you can find). Put all the spices in a small, heavy saute pan and roast them over high heat for a minute or two, until the scent fills the room! (Watch them. You don't want to burn them.) Grind the mixture. Store in an airtight container in a dry, cool spot.