If the boy with the arrows starred in a Bollywood film, this would be his main meal of choice, with its tender vegetables, lentils, and chickpeas napped in a sauce redolent with warming spices.
The stew is fragrant, flavorful, and very, very good for you: turmeric, one of the spices called for here, is thought to be a cancer preventative, and lentils and chickpeas offer fiber and protein without fat. But really, who cares how good it is for us when it tastes so heavenly? This makes a dishy Valentineís Day offering for anyone you love.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 large garlic cloves, minced finely
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt to taste
1 quart good-quality vegetable stock or water
1 cup red or brown lentils
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and diced
4 carrots, diced
1/2 bunch broccoli, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil and add onions, cooking over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are brown and sweetly caramelized. Add garlic, ginger, coriander, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, and salt to taste. Saute for 3 more minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Add stock or water and lentils, bring to a boil, an simmer for 10 minutes. Add potatoes and carrots and continue to simmer around 10 more minutes until potatoes and lentils are tender. Add broccoli and chickpeas and cook 5 more minutes. Add pepper to taste and serve hot.