This dish can be as mild or spicy as you like--and if you prefer more spicy than someone you'll be eating it with, kick the spice up some and serve the stew with a dollop of yogurt, which can be mixed in to cut the heat for those people with more sensitive tongues.
One of the great things about this stew is that it is rather forgiving. If you don't have the exact ingredients listed below, substitute--especially when it comes to your choice of protein. I've used chickpeas, Quorn, TVP crumbles, lentils, navy beans, shrimp, squid, and kidney beans in this in the past. This particular incarnation calls for lentils, because that's what I had on hand, and the end of this summer's zuchinni.
Dad came up the original vegetarian version of this stew--it originally used chicken--and then modified it to suit our tastes.
Red Indian Stew for Just a Few
2 teaspoons Garam Masala
+/- ½ tablespoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon tres ochos pepper (optional, for additional heat)
1/2 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup chopped onions
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large zuchinni, chopped
2 medium potatoes, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 ounces dried brown lentils
1 clove chopped garlic
1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped or diced
1 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup chopped cabbage
In a small bowl, combine the Garam Masala, crushed red pepper, and paprika. Mix well. Set aside.
Heat oil in a medium saute pan, over medium heat, When the oil is hot, add the onions to the pan, sauté until golden brown and season with salt and pepper. Add the zuchinni, potatoes, and carrot. Saute 3-5 minutes. Add the lentils, garlic, tomatoes and ginger. Continue to sauté for 1 – 3 minutes.
Add the stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes and lentils tender. Add the cabbage and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the cabbage has just started to cook. Remove from the heat and serve with rice or naan, and a dollop of yogurt (optional). Serves 3-4, depending on your appetite!