When I saw the Lentil & Potato Curry recipe in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook I thought it would be a budget friendly recipe. I can't seem to shake the idea that potatoes are inexpensive. The truth is, they are not. Organic potatoes, the only ones I could find at Whole Foods, were $1.49 a pound. One large potato? About a pound. But potatoes are high in Vitamin C and B6 and leaving the skin on provides good fiber so they are a good pick when it comes to nutrition.
I don't know about you, but I can barely cook anything without onions and garlic. I couldn't help but notice Bittman's recipe was missing those two crucial ingredients so I added them. I was able to get away with buying a very small portion of lentils in the bulk section. Sometimes buying a larger package is more economical but in this case it wouldn't have saved me any money. Can half a cup of lentils and one potato serve two people? In this recipe it can.
Lentil and Potato Curry is a bit like stone soup, the more stuff you add to it, the better it's likely to be. I'd love to serve it topped with a dollop of yogurt, a bit of chutney, a sprinkling of chopped cilantro, some rice and a fresh green vegetable like spinach, but staying on a strict budget means making sacrifices.
Lentil & Potato Curry
makes 2 servings about $1.38 per serving
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil 5¢
1/2 onion, chopped 75¢
2 garlic cloves, mashed 10¢
1/2 cup brown lentils 36¢
2 cups water, or more as needed
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (I considered this pantry supplies)
1 large potato, cut into chunks $1.49
In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the onions for 8 minutes or until soft and golden. Add the garlic and curry and saute for another minute. Add the lentils and water. Simmer partially covered for 15 minutes. Add the potato and cover pan. Gently simmer for 15 minutes or until lentils and potatoes are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper. Optional: top with yogurt and cilantro.