Crushed puy lentils with tahini and cumin

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Stop. Start. But, start with a tradition: a lentil dish on the menu for the first post of the year. Of course it had to be a Yotam Ottolengi’s .  Quick, easy and totally delicious, this is a hearty dish that will warm you to the soul in a cold winter day.

Crushed puy lentils with tahini and cumin (adapted from Yotam Ottolengi’s column in The Guardian)

Ingredients

  • 200g puy lentils
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 medium tomatoes,  cut into 1cm dice
  • 25g coriander leaves, chopped
  • 4 tbsp tahini paste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper
  • ½ small red onion, peeled and sliced very thin
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered

Cook the lentils according to the instructions on the packet,until completely cooked. Then drain and set aside.

Put the butter and oil in a large frying pan and place on a medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, add the garlic and cumin, and cook for a minute. Add the tomatoes, 20g of coriander and the cooked lentils. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes,

Add the tahini, lemon juice, 70ml of water, a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Turn down the heat to medium and cook gently, stirring, for a few minutes more, until hot and thickened. Roughly mash the lentils with a potato masher, so that some are broken up and you get a thick, porridge consistency. Serve warm with the hard-boiled eggs alongside.

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Brown lentils and rice with cinnamon and cumin

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Just to keep up with recently acquired superstitions, the first post of the year is a lentil dish. It may sound a bit too healthy, too sensible and maybe even bland, but it is far from it. The few spices it has, make it fragrant, flavourful and delicious… For bonus points, it has something bright red on it, for an extra bit of good luck.

Lebanese rice and lentils (adapted from Bill Granger‘s Easy)

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 onions, halved and sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 200g lentils
  • 100g of long grain rice
  • 800 mL vegetable stock
  • 2 tomatoes quartered
  • plain yoghurt mixed with ground cinnamon and cumin
  • vegetable sto
  • freshly ground salt and black pepper

Method

Heat the oil in a large saucepan until it is pipping hot. Drop in the sliced onions and add salt and pepper. Cook for about 10min, until soft and golden. Add the garlic, the cinnamon and cumin. Cook for another 2min until fragrant.

Add the lentils and the rice. Mix until they are covered with the spices and the onion. Poor in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Let it simmer for about 30min until the water is absorbed and the lentils are soft. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper.

Serve with the quartered tomatoes and a dollop of yoghurt.


Spiced lentils with cucumber yogurt, take 2

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It was one of the first posts of this blog,  long long time ago. Since then, an awful lot has happened: people have walked in and out of my life, some doors have shut and others have opened and Summer might have taken its time to arrive, but it alway did…  Yet, for whatever reason, I keep coming back to it, specially in the first days of Winter. Confort food doesn’t get much better than this… Seriously, it is quite easy to do. It requires minimum attention and preparation – just the odd bit of mixing suff here and there. Most of the ingredients are spices and the most sophisticated ones are actually optional.

Spiced lentils with cucumber yogurt (adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s column in The Guardian)

Ingredients

For the lentils

  • 200g split red lentils
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 40g ginger, peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 mild green chilli
  • half teaspoon of black mustard seeds
  • 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • half teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • half teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • half teaspoon ground turmeric
  • half teaspoon paprika
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 300g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoon caster sugar
  • half teaspoon fenugreek (optional)
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (optional)
  • Salt

For the cucumber yogurt

  • 150g Greek yogurt (I used regular lactose free yogurt)
  • 75g finely diced cucumber
  • half tablespoon of olive oil
  • 70g unsalted butter
  • lime juice

 Method

Wash the lentils in plenty of water, drain and soak in 350ml of fresh water for 30 minutes. Cut the coriander bunch somewhere around its centre to get a leafy top half and a stem/root bottom half. Roughly chop the leaves. Put the stem half in the bowl of a food processor, add the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli – all roughly broken – and pulse a few times to chop up without turning into a paste.

Put the mustard seeds in a heavy-based pot and place over medium heat. When they begin to pop, add the onion mix and sunflower oil, stir and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add the spices and curry leaves, and continue cooking and stirring for five minutes longer. Now add the lentils and their soaking water, the tomatoes, sugar, fenugreek, asafoetida and a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are fully cooked.

Before serving, whisk together the yogurt, cucumber, oil and some salt. Stir into the lentils the butter, lime juice and chopped coriander leaves, taste and season generously with salt. Divide into bowls, spoon yogurt on top and garnish with coriander.


Lentil soup with caraway and minted yoghurt

lentil soup

What else to eat on the first day of the year, but a fragrant lentil soup to bring you good luck? For best results, eat it while standing on you right foot on top of a stool and holding a piece of gold in your hand. Wearing a bright red piece of clothing is an absolute must. When you are done with the soup proceed immediately to eat 12 grapes or raisins.  Superstitious, me? Absolutely not – it is just my brain doing its job.

Lentil soup with caraway and minted yoghurt (adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall ‘s River Cottage Everyday)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 onions roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 350g red lentils
  • 2 liters of water or vegetable stock
  • 5 tablespoons of yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped mint

Method

1. Heat the oil in a  saucepan, until it is pipping hot. Then add  the onions and carrots, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan with a lid and let the vegetables sweat until they have soften, stirring occasionally

2. In the meanwhile, toast the coriander and caraway seed in a small frying pan. Grind them a fine powder using a mortar or a grinder (it is not strictly necessary to do this, but it will help to get a more fragrant soup).

3. Once the vegetables are soft,  add the ground spices and the garlic and let them fry fir a couple of minutes.

4. Add the lentils and mix well, until the lentils are covered with olive oil.

5. Pour the stock in the lentils and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft (about  15–20 minutes).

6. With a hand held mixer, purée until smooth. Add more water or stock if too thick.

7. Put the pan back in the stove and season to taste with salt and pepper. If necessary add the remaining spices. Let it simmer gently for about 5 min more.

8. To finish, whisk  yoghurt and the mint. Put a dollop on top of the soup in each serving bowl


Spiced lentils with cucumber yogurt

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Another typical Yotam Ottolenghi dish: a kilometric list of ingredients for an amazing plate of lentils, that will warm you even on the coldest days of winter. The recipe was found on Yotam’s New Vegetarian column at the Guardian, and of course on Plenty, his latest cookbook.

Spiced lentils with cucumber yogurt

Ingredients 

  • 200g split red lentils
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 40g ginger, peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 mild green chilli
  • half teaspoon of  black mustard seeds
  • 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • half teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • half teaspoon ground turmeric
  • half teaspoon paprika
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 300g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoon caster sugar
  • half teaspoon fenugreek (optional)
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (optional)
  • Salt
  • 150g Greek yogurt (I used regular lactose free yogurt)
  • 75g finely diced cucumber
  • half tablespoon of olive oil
  • 70g unsalted butter
  • lime juice

Methods

Wash the lentils in plenty of water, drain and soak in 350ml of fresh water for 30 minutes. Cut the coriander bunch somewhere around its centre to get a leafy top half and a stem/root bottom half. Roughly chop the leaves. Put the stem half in the bowl of a food processor, add the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli – all roughly broken – and pulse a few times to chop up without turning into a paste.

Put the mustard seeds in a heavy-based pot and place over medium heat. When they begin to pop, add the onion mix and sunflower oil, stir and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add the spices and curry leaves, and continue cooking and stirring for five minutes longer. Now add the lentils and their soaking water, the tomatoes, sugar, fenugreek, asafoetida and a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are fully cooked.

Before serving, whisk together the yogurt, cucumber, oil and some salt. Stir into the lentils the butter, lime juice and chopped coriander leaves, taste and season generously with salt. Divide into bowls, spoon yogurt on top and garnish with coriander.