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March 2017 Trail Bytes: Red Lentil Curry Bark Recipe
March 16, 2017
In January’s newsletter, I made lentil stew with green lentils and vegetables. All the vegetables went into the stew before I dried it. For this month's newsletter, I cooked and dried red lentils with curry seasoning.
Red lentils turn mushy when you cook them. Green lentils stay firm. To turn the red lentil mush into a flavorful sauce, I ran the cooked red lentil curry through a blender and dried it into bark. Then I combined the bark with dried brown basmati rice and colorful vegetables.
Red Lentil Curry Recipe
Ingredients for Red Lentil Curry Bark:
Note on curry powder: I used mild but you can go with a hotter blend if desired. The curry powder I used was a blend of coriander, turmeric, yellow mustard, fenugreek, cumin, ginger, pepper, onion, garlic, bay leaves, paprika, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg.
I added cumin seeds and fresh ginger to give the curry a little extra zing.
How to make Red Lentil Curry
Begin by lubricating a stock pot with two teaspoons of olive oil. Cook the onions, garlic, and grated ginger over medium heat for a few minutes.
Add the curry powder and cumin seeds. Stir to toast the spices a little.
Add a few ounces of water at a time, cooking down the mixture to a paste-like consistency before adding a little more water. After fifteen minutes or so, the flavor of the spices will have blossomed.
Add the lentils and rest of the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for fifteen minutes. Stir in one teaspoon of salt at the end. Remove pot from heat and let cool.
Cooking and Dehydrating Brown Basmati Rice
If you don’t already have a stash of dried rice, you can cook it on a back burner while making the red lentil curry. Rinse brown rice before cooking.
Combine two cups of brown basmati rice with two cups water and one teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for forty-five minutes. Keep lid on pot while the rice is simmering, no stirring. Remove from heat and let sit until cool. Note: If you use white rice instead of brown rice, you will use more water and the cooking time will be shorter.
Dehydrating Rice: Two cups of brown basmati rice will yield five cups of cooked rice. Spread the cooked rice on dehydrator trays covered with non-stick sheets and dehydrate at 135° F for six to eight hours or until dry and hard. One Excalibur Dehydrator tray will hold two-and-a-half to three cups of cooked rice. After you dry the brown basmati rice, you will again end up with approximately two cups. The advantage of precooking and drying it is that it will rehydrate and cook quickly in trail meals.
Dehydrate Red Lentil Curry into Bark
Run the cooked red lentils through a blender until smooth or use an immersion blender. The yield from this recipe is approximately five cups of blended lentils. You will be able to make several trail meals from this quantity.
Spread blended mixture evenly on dehydrator trays covered with non-stick sheets or use the fruit leather inserts if drying in a round dehydrator. I spread two cups of mixture on one Excalibur Dehydrator tray.
Dehydrate at 135° F for eight to ten hours until dry and crumbly. The dried yield of two cups blended mixture was 1½ cups crumbled bark.
Red Lentil Curry with Brown Basmati Rice & Vegetables
Servings: 1 Regular
To make a large serving: ⅓ cup bark, ¾ cup dried rice, ¾ cup dried vegetables, 1¾ cups water.
Vegetables: I used a colorful medley of dried carrots, red bell peppers, red pepperoni, and baked sweet potato. As you can see in the photo, I cut the carrots and peppers julienne-style before drying to give a nice texture to the meal. Use any vegetables you like.
Preparation: Combine all ingredients in pot with water. Soak five minutes and then light stove. Bring to a boil. Continue boiling for one minute and then turn off stove. Let sit for ten minutes with lid on pot. Insulate with a pot cozy if you have one. If cooking in a thermos food jar, add an extra quarter-cup of boiled water.
I really enjoyed this red lentil curry meal. The recipe formula was based on the same concept as my bean bark recipes: Combine a flavor element with a starchy legume. You can find recipes for Black Bean & Salsa Bark, Enchilada Bean Bark, BBQ Baked Bean Bark, and World Peas Bark in Recipes for Adventure.
1,001 Miles on the Appalachian TrailI’m sorry I did not send out a newsletter in February. I was working earnestly to finish my new book: 1,001 Miles on the Appalachian Trail. I handed off the manuscript to my editor on March 1st. The book covers the southern half of the trail in daily journal entries. Recipes for Adventure covers the recipe side of backpacking; the new book celebrates the adventure side. My hope is that seasoned Appalachian Trail hikers will enjoy walking down memory lane with me, while readers who have not hiked the trail will feel like they are there with me as I describe what comes around bends and over mountains. As I say in the Introduction, “The trail never shorted me details.” I’m shooting to have the book ready by May.
That’s it for this month. I’m heading back to Georgia for a spring visit in a little over a week. Before I go, I will cook and dehydrate several thermos meals so Dominique and Cédric will have hot lunches for work. They will join me in Georgia two weeks after I get there. I hope you enjoy the red lentil curry recipe. As always, we wish you all the best and good eating on your adventures.
Chef Glenn & Dominique
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