Coconut Curry Crab Chowder with Lentils

  • 1 1/2 C red lentils
  • 16 oz crab meat
  • 1 qt home canned garden tomatoes
  • 3-4 C clam juice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 C plain yoghurt (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 large garlic cloves. smashed
  • 3″ large piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 t cumin seed
  • 1 1/2 t fennel seed
  • 3-4 t very good, fresh Madras curry powder
  • 3/4 C unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 sweet bell peppers (red and yellow) 1″ diced
  • 1 poblano pepper 1″ diced
  • 2 serrano peppers, minced. Seeded if you want to decrease the spiciness
  • 8 0z sugar snap pea pods, ends trimmed and cut in half
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 6 scallions, sliced on a bias
  • garam masala to taste
  • lemon or lime wedges, to serve

In a small food processor, purée the yellow onion, ginger and garlic with just enough water (1-2 t) for it to form a thick, smooth paste. Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high with a little oil. Add in the whole cumin and fennel seed and toast until just fragrant. Add in the onion-garlic-ginger paste and cook 1-2 minutes. Add in the curry powder and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes, being careful not to scorch any of the spices.

Grind your toasted coconut in a spice grinder and add to the pot. Add in the tomatoes and clam juice and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the ground coconut is fully hydrated.

Meanwhile, rinse your lentils in several changes of cool water until the water runs clear. Cook for 10 minutes in boiling water with 2 bay leaves. Remove from heat and add 1 t kosher salt to the water and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain and add the lentils to your soup pot along with your coconut milk and yoghurt, if using.

Add your carrots and cook for about 12 minutes. Then add the peppers and pea pods and crab. Cook until the vegetables are until just barely tender and still have crunch. Remove the pot from the heat and add in the cilantro and scallions and 1 t or more of the garam masala. Serve with lemon/lime wedges and top with extra toasted coconut if desired.

Serves 6

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