This is one of those one-pot meals that is nice enough to serve mid-week or for a special occasion when you have guests on the horizon or maybe a casual date!
I came up with this dish one evening when I realized that I had a package of frozen cod in the refrigerator defrosting and that I’d be on the road the very next day. The challenge was that I had to cook this fish within a few hours or risk having to throw it out. I don’t like to waste food, so I got creative.
Looking around my kitchen for ingredients I found inspiration. Ghee, onion, tomatoes and aromatics met my gaze. I also spotted an unopened bag of red lentils. I had bought them a few months ago with the idea of making Indian dal, but never got around to it. “Now’s the time,” I thought.
What are lentils?
Lentils are an edible seed from the legume family. They are often used in Asian, South Asian and African cuisine. There are basically 5 types of lentils: brown, puy, green, beluga (black) and yellow & red.
Yellow and red lentils cook up quickly and have a sweet nutty flavor. They worked perfectly for this dish.
What’s great about this recipe is that you can make this from chunks of frozen cod, pollock or salmon in a pinch.
Cod is a very mild, white fish that is at its most delicious when it’s paired with flavorful ingredient. The texture of cod is meaty and dense so its a great addition to hearty recipes.
Why frozen fish?
Frozen fish is a good option for this recipe because the fish does not need to stand alone; it’s not the star, rather part of an ensemble cast of simple, delicious ingredients.
This also works well in a crock pot if you are so inclined.
1 ½ lbs frozen wild cod, pollock or salmon partially defrosted
½ cup red lentils, rinsed
½ brown onion, diced
3 cups of water
1 cup of crushed tomatoes with juice
1 cup shredded spinach or kale
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons dried ginger
Fresh cracked black pepper
Red pepper flake
Fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
Add ghee and olive oil to a large soup pot along with the onion, garlic and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and water and stir.
Toss in the ginger, dried parsley, a few cracks of black pepper and stir. Taste the base and add sea salt and red pepper flake to your preference. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir in the red lentils and any residual water from the container. Cover the pot and simmer for 6 minutes on medium. When the 6 minutes is over, give the stew a taste. Adjust the spices as needed. The lentils should be tender but not soft. Add the fish and kale or spinach, stir and cook covered for another 10 minutes. Then turn off the stove and allow the stew to steam for an additional 5-10 minutes before serving.
Pour into individual bowls and garnish with cilantro or parsely