Monday, April 13, 2015

Meal Plan: April 12-April 16th- Red Lentil Thai Chili

So Passover is behind us and everything is back to normal. My parents flew home, I'm back at work and I'm eating exactly the way I want to. The only thing that hadn't gotten the memo is the weather! Since Thursday we've had uncharacteristically cold and rainy weather for April. And by rainy weather I mean full on thunder and lightning storms. I even had to pull out my winter boots and coats to brave the inclement weather. I want spring back! The good news is that when I was planning the next months' meal plans from Isa Does It, I scheduled this Thai Red Lentil Chili first. Timing turned out perfect!

I had the rotten luck of having my credit card swallowed by the ATM machine so I couldn't do my shopping last night. Needless to say, I was pretty annoyed!!! (It was my fault! Thankfully, I got it back first thing this morning. Phew!) I had enough cash on me to buy a couple cans of diced tomatoes for the chili; I had enough vegetables from last week that were still good to get me through a couple of lunches. I'll be heading to the supermarket tonight right after work, so I'll update this post with how much I spent. UPDATE: This was a bit of an expensive week-- I spent 100 shekels yesterday at the supermarket plus 20 shekels on the tomatoes. Eek! 60 of it went to stocking up on oats (I'm on my third box of ten pounds! I go through a lot of oats!), twenty went to another 5 kg of rice (I thought the price might be a fluke, so just in case!), and the rest to some corn, sweet potatoes and cucumbers.
I played around with this recipe a tad, using what I had laying around. I used an orange pepper instead of red, chickpeas instead of kidney beans and I made my own coconut milk. As per usual, I left out the oil. I used the Instant Pot for this but instead of pressure cooking all the vegetables, I just used the saute function to get everything nice and cooked which I like a lot better because then water actually evaporates and I don't end up with a really watery stew!

I really really really liked this chili, It was delicious and hearty, especially served over basmati rice. Together they made a stick to your ribs, warming dinner that kept me warm as the rain was falling last night. Bonus is that it's pretty quick to make once everything gets cooking. I liked that in every bite, you get a bunch of different flavors. I think though that I would leave out the coconut milk next time. I usually love coconut but I haven't been liking it in recipes like this. Having it next day is just as good and the coconut flavor is downplayed. This will be good to the very last bite. And there will be a week's worth of bites as this recipe yields a lot of food. No complaints here! (This was also my first time preparing dinner using two IP liners- second one came  when my parents came for the holiday. As soon as the chili was done, I inserted the other liner to cook the rice. What a pleasure!)

Red Lentil Thai Chili
slightly adapted from Isa Does It

1 large onion, diced medium sized
1 orange or red pepper, diced
1 tsp salt plus a pinch, divided
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into half inch chunks
1 cup red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cans chickpeas or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 can lite coconut milk
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes

Preheat your pot of choice. Saute the onion, pepper and pinch of salt for about 5-7 minutes until softened using water to prevent burning or sticking. Add the garlic and saute an additional minutes. Add the chili powder, the sweet potatoes, lentils and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil for about 15-20 minutes until the lentils are soft and mushy and the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Add the beans, curry paste, coconut milk and tomatoes and stir. Heat through. Serve over rice or just on its own.

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