Hearty Curried Lentils

Hearty Curried Lentils – all images © Juliette Mansour Photography

I took my family’s original Lebanese lentil recipe and gave it a little kick. The original recipe is quite tasty and certainly a hearty one, but these lentils were soaked and simmered in chicken broth, infused with Indian and Middle Eastern spices and garnished with cilantro.

The key to keeping the overall texture creamy while keeping the lentils “al dente” is to periodically add the broth several tablespoons at a time while they simmer. The key to the flavor is to simmer at lower temperatures and let them really soak in the flavor. You can also give these added heat if you wish.

I hope you enjoy the recipe!

 

Recipe

Most of the work is in creating a rich paste to coat the lentils as they cook. For the paste, smash or grind these up in equal parts:

A couple of cloves garlic
Small piece ginger
A few pinches of cinnamon
A few pinches of cumin powder
A few pinches of coriander powder
A few pinches of chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Then add:
4 Tbsp of EVOO
1 Tbsp of red wine vinegar
I cup tomato puree
5 to 6 cashew nuts

For garnish: chopped cilantro and chilies to taste

Rinse 2 cups of Lentils and toss in a pot with 2 cups of chicken stock (home made is best).  Let simmer for about 30 minutes over very slow heat adding a few tablespoons of water at a time and simmering until water is almost gone. Make sure to check periodically – the excess water should always rise above the lentils by about a half an inch.

Add paste into mixture after 15 minutes and continue to let simmer on low. When mixture looks creamy but not watery, turn off the heat.

Chop up a heaping handful of fresh cilantro and an extra dried chili or two and top. Serve with a side of salad or garnish with olives and other pickled vegetables.

 

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