By far the most popular recipes on my site are the curries. There’s the original Chickpea Curry, the Coconut and Sweet Potato Curry, the Dal Bhat, and the Dal Makhani. Adding to that list is this incredible, creamy curry made with peanut butter and lentils. It’s kind of “region independent” in the sense that it draws influence from Indian curries, African dishes, and maybe even some Thai inspiration as well.
This Peanut Butter Curry is every bit as delicious as the others, with lots of similar flavors, but it’s also totally different. The peanut comes through strongly, but balances extremely well with the Indian spices and the meaty lentils. Spoon over jasmine rice for the perfect blend between classic chickpea curry, creamy Dal Makhani, and an African peanut stew.
Makes: 4 large servings
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2+ teaspoon each spice: cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves
- 2 15 oz cans (or fresh) lentils
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- Green onions, for garnish
- Limes, for garnish
- Jasmine rice, for serving
In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat and add in a chopped yellow onion, 3 cloves of minced garlic, and about a teaspoon of grated ginger. Allow to soften for 3-5 minutes. Then, add in half a teaspoon of salt plus half a teaspoon of each spice (cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves) right onto the onions – which is essential to developing great curry flavors. Allow to sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
Next, add in 2 cans of brown or black lentils, rinsed and drained (or the equivalent of fresh lentils), 1/4 cup tomato paste, and 1 chopped red bell pepper. Stir well and give these another 2-3 minutes to simmer.
Also at this point, begin cooking the jasmine rice according to package instructions.
When the lentils and tomato paste are incorporated, add 1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky both work fine) and 2 cups vegetable broth into the mix and stir well until the peanut butter is evenly dissolved. Give the curry at least another 25 minutes for all the flavors to stew together (35 would be ideal). Before finishing, give it a taste and feel free to boost the spices or salt as needed.
When the curry is done, stir in 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and serve over the jasmine rice. Garnish with sliced green onions, a little more chopped cilantro, and lime wedges. Store in the fridge for a day or two (the leftovers are even better).