Creativity in the Pantry (3/21/13)

Today I realized that the only fresh ingredients I had in my fridge were half an onion and some rosemary. I was a little desperate since I didn’t want to go out for lunch, nor did I want to go grocery shopping. So I had to come up with something tasty and nutritious cooked with ingredients from my pantry.

Turns out that with a little creativity, you can go a long way. I have always wanted to make an Indian dish but I was intimidated by the complexity of flavors of their gastronomic culture. I actually have all the spices you need for an Indian dish because I keep thinking I will venture into the unknown. I guess the time had come: I had some red lentils, canned tomatoes and some tofu leftover from lunch the day before.

In less than half an hour, I whipped up a delicious red lentil, tomato, tofu, curry yummy-ness. I cooked the lentils in a small pan with turmeric and chili powder. In a sautéing pan, I sautéed mustard seeds, onions, tomato and lots and lots and lots of spices (cumin, coriander, chili, turmeric and curry – which has some of the same spices in it)! When the lentils were still covered in water but cooked, I mixed this tomato “paste” with some tomato juice from the can into the pan and added the tofu so it would cook in the liquid and all the flavors would blend together.

I am seriously impressed with this meal. It was fast, 95% cooked with pantry ingredients, delicious, nutritious, and creative. And forgive me, but I was so hungry that I did not think about photographing it. Guess you will have to try your own recipe to see it and believe it! (Sarah Muller)

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