Coconut cream makes lentil stew a little bit less good for you, but a lot better tasting. However, I sprouted my lentils, which makes them a little bit better for you — I figure it fully counterbalances the coconut.
Anyway, I’m not seriously concerned about a bit of extra fat. Coconut milk gives this otherwise simple lentil stew a creamy, even sweet taste, and certainly makes it more fun to eat.
For about 4 cups of lentil stew:
1.5 c dry lentils
8-10 garlic cloves
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
oil for frying
Start soaking the lentils in advance: Half a day in advance if you don’t want to sprout them, and a day to a day and a half in advance if you do want to sprout them. To sprout, submerge the lentils in water — about twice as much water than lentils by volume, because the lentils will swell to more than twice their original size. Once they swell up to their full size (say, after 8 hours), dump them into a strainer and rinse every several hours (say, twice a day). They should have itty, bitty roots by the time you’re ready to use them.
Dice the onion and carrot, and crush the garlic. Put the onion and carrot into a large pot to fry. Once the onion is translucent, add the garlic. When the garlic just begins to brown, add the lentils (drained, of course).
Cover with water, and add the curry and the salt. Put a lid on the pot and let the lentils boil until soft — this should be quick, because the lentils were pre-soaked. When cooked, stir in the coconut milk.