Curried Lentil Stew w/Stinkbug Garnish!

A few weeks back, I discovered a cookbook at Value Village in Waterdown, Ontario…Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons.

 It has dozens upon dozens of recipes, the majority of which call for ingredients that I recognize, which is important to me.  I don’t mind having to do research and find ingredients that originate from a different culture if I’m attempting a specific dish, but I like having recipes on hand that are simple ingredients…stuff I have in my cupboard or that I can easily buy at a nearby grocery store.  The more pretentious the cookbook, the less likely I am to buy it.

This book is quite accessible and I’ve been having fun while trying out some of the recipes!

“But … a stinkbug???” you’re probably asking. “What’s THAT all about??”

Keep reading…I’ll get there *wink*

 Or if you want to see the recipe, you’ll find it at the bottom of this post.

The first recipe I decided to try was the Curried Lentil Stew.  That morning, I headed to the Hamilton Farmer’s Market and bought the vegetables I would need.  I decided to get all the prep out of the way so I began by cutting up my onions, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and garlic.

It was as I began to saute my onions in melted butter that things became interesting….

I looked over to my right and on my cupboard, I saw this trundling along my cutting board:


 He seemed kind of dopey…slow moving…

Usually I’m pretty good with finding insects in my apartment. 
I’m not one for killing them…I usually capture flying ones in a glass, crawly ones on a piece of paper and release them outside.

But in this case, my food was all over the counter and I was in the midst of cooking my onions which required my attention, so this little visitor wasn’t welcome.  He was near my food!  And that creeped me out!!  Not to mention…at the time, I didn’t actually know what kind of bug he was and hey, the unknown is a little scary!

What the heck is THAT?

A little grossed out.


*Really* grossed out! I mean, com'on...he was near my food!!!


Trying to keep my wits about call my bf for help 😉


Have regained my courage..."There's the door! Don't let it hit your pointy lil abdomen on the way out!"

 Luckily, my boyfriend was just down the hall and he saved the day by ushering our visitor onto a little piece of paper and finding him a seat outside on my balcony instead of in my kitchen! 
Initially, he had offered to smush the lil guy and I immediately said “No, just put him outside!”  I’m very glad we did because upon a little bit of research…I found this quote on Wikipedia:
So, our six-legged friend dealt with…I took a deep breath, scanned my kitchen for other creepy visitors and, seeing none, continued with my stew!

 Actually, I have to admit that the creeped out feeling sort of remained for a bit…so, to distract myself, I made shadow puppets in my onions!

See the bunny?

*blink blink* Yeah, I’m that kind of geek. 

So…..moving on….onions completed, I added the various spices to the mix. After another quick saute, I filled the pot with my chopped carrots and potatoes, the required amount of water and….the wrong lentils!
Ooops…those lentils were supposed to be brown.  Somehow the stinkbug is to blame for this! 

Yep, I grabbed the wrong bag and began adding the red lentils before I clued it that I had meant to use brown.  Ah well, I hadn’t added the full amount at that point so I switched and ended up having a bit of both. 

Beyond that, the rest of the recipe was easy-peasy.  Let it simmer…add the tomatoes, sherry, salt and pepper….simmer some more until all is as tender as you would like it to be.Regarding the sherry, I added the amount called for in the recipe but in hindsight, I would probably start with half of that next time and add the rest depending on taste.  I found the sherry flattened the flavour somewhat and I had to go about adding some more spices as well as a vegetable bouillon cube to liven it up again.  The cube actually did wonders and I would consider adding that to the list of ingredients.
Overall, bug crisis averted and lentil mistake corrected, the stew was great!
It was quite yummy…good flavour…a nice warm, hearty dish to eat on a cold day.


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 or 2 large carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 2 med potatoes, peeled, 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 pinches ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 dried thyme
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup dried brown lentils
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1/2 tsp salt…to taste
  • black pepper, to taste


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Saute onion until it begins to brown, about 7-8 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, curry, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and thyme.  Continue to saute for another 2-3 mins while stirring.
  3. Add the carrot and potato, water and lentils.  Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, sherry, salt and pepper.  Continue simmering for another 5-10 minutes, or until potatoes and lentils are tender.

Source: Vegetarian Plant by Didi Emmons, Harvard Common Press, 1997


About Amanda Pants

A bit odd, a bit eccentric, a bit loud. Kinda goth, kinda alt, kinda geeky. Crochet/cooking/reading/writing/big stompy boots/journals and a Cheshire grin! All recorded on Wordpress ;) Learning to cook with a Dash of Daring and a Pinch of Panic: Sewing and fibre arts, creations made by moi: Random rants and other bits and pieces: View all posts by Amanda Pants

2 responses to “Curried Lentil Stew w/Stinkbug Garnish!

  • Viv

    Yum. That looks luvverly!

  • Mimi

    So THAT’S what the wee buggers are called !! As soon as I get rid of one, another miraculously appears!!! I too have never laid eyes on the freaks!! Mind you, I did squish (sorry) and I didn’t detect any schtink from them. hmmmmm Maybe they have to mate to get re-schtunk?? heheeee xoxo

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