Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Red Split Lentil Stew with Green Beans, Squash, and Okra, served with Madagascar Pink Rice and Avocado (No Added Fat)

My Dad is visiting and particularly likes red lentils, so I picked up some red split lentils. Conventionally, they cook in a 1:3 ratio of lentils to water over 30-45 minutes. In my Instant Pot, the time is 15-18 minutes. Rather than put other vegetables in for the duration, I thought that I would cook the lentils for all but 4 minutes; I used vegetables that take 2-3 minutes time to cook but, to be sure that everything would be soft enough for my Dad, I gave them 4 minutes.

  • 1/3 cup red split lentil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2t coarsely chopped ginger (to approximately 3/8" pieces)
  • 1 vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1/8 t ground cumin
  • 1/4 t salt (I used Indian kala namak, "black salt" that is really pink in color and that adds a nice sulfurous taste, but regular salt is fine)
  • (optional) 1/2 t (or to taste) diced jalapeno - I omitted as my Dad is needing to avoid spicy food, and my daughter won't eat anything with jalapeno, but I think it would be a good addition
  • 1/2 small onion, diced to 3/8" cubes
  • 3 dozen green beans, ends trimmed off then halved
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 24 okras, stem end removed then cut into 1/2" pieces


  1. I put the lentil, water, ginger, and bouillon cube in the Instant Pot and cooked on high pressure for 13 minutes
  2. I waited as long as was feasible (ideally, I should have set the lentils up to cook earlier in the day) then slowly released the remaining pressure manually and opened the Instant Pot (pressure cookers should always be opened carefully, obviously, with the back end first so steam escapes away from the cook)
  3. This was the first time that I had cooked lentils under pressure; I was interested to try them at this point, and they actually seemed done and tasty, but rather thick. I know that the added vegetables would contribute moisture, but, to be sure, I added another 1/3 cup water (as in the ingredient list). I'll have to research a bit more about cooking lentils in a pressure cooker.
  4. I added the rest of the ingredients, closed the pot, and cooked on high for another 4m
I was originally thinking of a thicker stew, but it was really the right consistency and best served in a bowl. My intuition was right about the water! I also made some Madagascar pink rice.


My wife and I enjoyed the dish! At first, my wife, who was brought up in India, thought that the okra didn't go so well with the main course, but after eating a few bites, changed her mind. I made this dish particularly with my Dad's preferences in mind; he needs soft food with little spice, so I thought that the okra would add a bit of chewable texture. My Dad thought that the dish was "okay" but certainly not up to my Mom's standards!

Ideas for the future

I was pleased with how versatile the pressure cooker was in preparing lentils. I'd like to try similar dishes with other vegetables, such as perhaps eggplant and/or carrot. It would add a nice accent to serve with some raw or almost raw onion, as well as some fresh peas. Tomatoes, cooked or raw, would go well, too, but I avoided tomatoes for my Dad's benefit as he is reducing his acidic food intake.

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