1/2 cup French green lentils, picked over and rinsed
3 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium leek, thinly sliced crosswise
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 medium red potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 pound okra, sliced crosswise 1 inch thick
2 ounces snow peas
2 packed cups baby spinach leaves (2 ounces)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Freshly ground pepper
In a medium saucepan, cover the lentils with 2 cups of the water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are barely tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the garlic, leek and ginger and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water, the soy sauce and the potatoes. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the okra and simmer until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the snow peas and spinach and simmer until the snow peas are bright green, about 1 minute. Stir in the lentils, add the lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot or warm.
The stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently.