Spicy Lentil Stew with Tulsi Garnish Recipe

Written by Dawn Lusk

Spicy Lentil Stew with Tulsi Garnish

Have you picked up our latest E-Zine that features Holy Basil?! If not, it is one I highly recommend, especially if you love recipes! Below I share one of the recipes from the article by Nina Judith Katz. I had the opportunity to make it over the weekend and my husband and I were BIG fans! It is one we will be coming back to again and again throughout the Fall and Winter seasons.


  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 C lentils
  • 1 C mixed seaweeds (kelp, dulse, kombu, etc.)
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • ¼ – 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp minced fresh ginger, or 1 – 2 tsp dried powder
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp coconut oil
  • 2 quarts water
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 10 sprigs fresh tulsi, or 2 Tbsp dried


  1. Start soaking the lentils.
  2. Put the oils into your pot and add the cayenne and paprika, mixing well with the oils.
  3. Chop up the ginger, if fresh, and add.
  4. Add the rest of the spices and the salt.
  5. Crush or mince the garlic and add.
  6. Leave the spices to marinate in the oil for a while as you multitask.
  7. While you’re multitasking, think about the many cultures inspiring this dish. The inspiration comes most of all from Indian and Ethiopian cuisines, but with a tiny bit of inspiration from Hungarian, Japanese, and Thai cuisine as well. Melding multiple inspirational sources is a tradition I learned growing up in New York City, where it was already widespread by the late 1970s, but it now spans the continent. We’re learning about naming our inspiration more slowly.
  8. Chop the onion and sauté minimally, to the cusp of translucency.
  9. Strain the lentils and add.
  10. Cut up the seaweed and add. I sometimes buy my seaweed precut; otherwise, I use a scissors or cooking shears to cut it.
  11. Add the water.
  12. If cooking in a pressure cooker, set the timer somewhere between 14 and 36 minutes. For red lentils, 16 minutes will be enough for them to soften nicely, while 14 will leave more texture. 36 minutes will soften black, green, and French lentils to a near-liquid state, while 18 will leave more texture. I like to make this dish more soupy, so tend to go for the longer times, but every language I’ve met has a version of the Latin saying, “De gustibus non est disputandum,” or “one shouldn’t argue about tastes.”
  13. If you’re cooking this in a more traditional vessel, you’ll want to simmer the soup for 30 to 70 minutes and supervise it as it simmers.
  14. If your tulsi is fresh, chop it up.
  15. Add the lime juice when the soup has finished simmering.
  16. Add the tulsi as a garnish, one generous pinch per bowl.
  17. Enjoy!!

If you’d like to purchase the issue, we decided to extend our e-zine sale through the end of the day Monday, September 21, 2020. You can get the Holy Basil issue, and all past issues for 50% off if you use the code FALL50. We are also offering 15% off a yearly subscription with the code FALL15.

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