Savory Lentil Stew


  • 2 TB oil [extra virgin olive, coconut, etc.]
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, mustard seeds [black and/or yellow]
  • 3-6 dried chili
  • 1 large yellow onion (minced)
  • 2 large tomatoes (diced)
  • 4-6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 poblano pepper (minced)
  • 2 cups green lentils (whole)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin, cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 sprig mint [or 1 cup when cut] (chopped)
  • 1 sprig cilantro [or 1 cup when cut] (chopped)
  • 3 cups of veggie broth
  • 3 cups of water

Optional: ¼ tsp asafetida powder, 1 sprig parsley [enough for 1 cup when cut] (chopped)

Note: This dish is prepared quickly but takes time to cook for the lentils, so have everything cut and prepped in bowls grouped by: Seeds in one bowl. Chilies and asafetida in another. Onion,garlic and tomato together in one. All of remaining dried/powdered the seasonings. The lentils, mint, cilantro, and parsley if being used. The veggie broth in it’s own, I use the water to rinse the container that held the veggie broth and use that. This comes to a total of 6 containers.


  • Begin by heating up your cooking oil on medium-high heat in a large pot.
  • When the oil is hot, add in the cumin and mustard seeds and mix. Allow to cook for less than 1 minute, or until seeds begin to ‘pop,’ this should only take a 5-10 seconds if oil is heated right.
  • Once you hear popping, add dried chilies (and asafetida if being used) and stir 2-3 times. Total cook time for the dried chilies with the seeds shouldn’t exceed 15 seconds, if oil is heated correctly you really want to stir quick as the popping can get crazy really fast.
  • Immediately add the onions, garlic, poblano and tomato. Cook for 6-10 minutes or until the onions have become transparent/ lightly browned.
  • When the onions have browned, add the seasonings and briefly mix. Then add the salt, coriander, lentils, veggie broth, water, cilantro, mint, and parsley if being used. Stir/mix thoroughly.
  • Bring dish to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 45-50 minutes while covered.
  • Turn off heat but leave the lentils on the burner, allow to rest for with the cover partially on for at least 10-15 minutes, stir and mix every 3-5 minutes.

Note: This dish can be served hot, but I prefer to let it rest/marinate for at least 30-40 minutes after it’s done cooking. This amplifies the development of the dish’s flavor and softens up the lentils even more so. I always stir the mixture once every 5 minutes as the top layer will oxidize and get darker in color. If I’m eating it day of, I’ll simply reheat but it usually stays pretty warm since there’s going to be a lot of it. This is an indian influenced dish, so don’t be surprised if it taste even better the following day- which is hard to top because this is one of my favorite dishes, with and without rice. This dish can also be stored in the freezer in glass containers for 1-3 months and even used in various dishes like piroshki, leftover burgers, additions to salads, and much, much more.

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