Monday, February 7, 2011

Legume and Mushroom Stew

Looks like I need more ground cardamom!

I'm a big fan of legumes. Legumes are a big family of delicious foods including lentils, peanuts, cashews and split peas, amongst other things. Lentils are also a staple dish of South Asia, and since I am most definitely in the middle of a huge Indian food kick right now, they are perfect.

This curry (basically an Indian stew, any dish with a saucy texture) combines mushrooms, two types of legumes, tomatoes and corn to form a spicy hot bowl of deliciousness. Serve this on top of some rice, if you'd like, and/or alongside your favorite flatbread, such as naan or chapatis.

For the spicyness here, I used my own crushed red peppers. This past summer I bought a large amount of dried Thai chilies from Hun's Garden at the Kansas City Farmer's Market. Sometimes I use them whole and remove them before serving to impart a small amount of spicy flavor. To make crushed red peppers, simply chop off the stem and the rest of the tiny pepper pretty much crushes itself - if the pieces are too big, rub them between your fingers. Be careful though - WASH YOUR HANDS WELL before you touch ANYTHING else... I don't know how many times I've gotten flaming hot capsaicin in my eyes or nose after handling super hot chilies! Keep your freshly crushed peppers in a glass jar and they're ready to go to top pizzas or go into any recipe you'd like to add some flavor to! Be warned, though - Thai chilies are VERY spicy, WAY more so than the stale crushed red peppers you can buy at the supermarket. I pureed one in a pot of soup once and the soup was too hot to handle! Use a small hand at first and then continue if you can handle it.

Legume and Mushroom Stew

  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup split peas
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
  • olive oil
  • for garnishes: minced cilantro or parsley, crushed peanuts or cashews, green onions
Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Chop the onion and add to the pot, along with the garam masala, turmeric and cardamom. Cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent and the spices are fragrant, about five minutes. Add the lentils, split peas and broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the lentils and split peas are tender but still retain their shape and the water is almost absorbed but not quite - about 25-35 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat some more olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Slice the mushrooms and saute in the pan until they are browned and release their juices, about five minutes. During the last minute or so add in the garlic and some black pepper to taste.

Once the legumes have finished, remove the lid and stir in the mushrooms/garlic, tomatoes and corn. Taste, and add crushed red pepper to taste. Garnish and serve.


  1. Wonderful looking stew, truly yummy..

  2. combination looks healthy delicious

  3. this is lovely! i love mushrooms, this would get eaten up fast in my house!

  4. yummilicious stew... following u!!