food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘lentils

barley, lentils and mushrooms with fried onions

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Once again Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe imparts amazing flavours to a vegetarian meal.


In a small bowl cover 20g (¾ oz) of dried porcini with 1¾ cups of boiling water and leave to stand for an hour. After an hour, remove the mushrooms and strain the liquid through a very fine sieve to remove any grit, then return the mushrooms to their liquid. Place 120g (4¼ oz) of barley (pre-soaked) and 170g (6 oz) of brown lentils in a large saucepan. Add 4 times the volume of cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a rolling simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, transfer to a bowl and leave to cool down. Cut an onion into thin slices lengthways and toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of flour. Heat oil in a medium saucepan (enough to cover the onion slices in batches) to high heat and fry the onion in batches for three to four minutes, until golden-brown. Remove them to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside to cool. Slice a second onion into wider wedges. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat and fry the onion wedges for five minutes until charred and soft. Stir in 1½ teaspoons of ground cumin, 1 teaspoons of ground allspice and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Next add 4 sliced large mushrooms, the finely sliced rind of 1 lemon and ½ a teaspoon each of sugar and salt. Fry until the mushrooms start to soften then add the porcini and all their soaking liquid. Boil rapidly for five minutes, reducing the liquid to approximately ½ a cup. Reduce the heat and add the lentils and barley plus 1 tablespoon of dried mint, 1 teaspoon of dried dill leaves, ¾ of a teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Cook for a minute more then remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Serve garnished with the fried onion and chopped parsley with sour cream on the side.


goat curry in a lentil sauce

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The lentils in this curry break down to make a delicious gravy which complements the sweet goat meat.

In a heavy saucepan place 1½ kilos (3lbs) of goat meat cut into pieces, ½ a cup of yellow split peas, ¼ of a cup of red lentils, a cinnamon stick, 3 whole star anise and 6 cloves. Add at least 3 cups of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and allow to simmer (you may need to add water as it cooks). Meanwhile crush 4 cloves of garlic and grate a similar amount of ginger. Into a bowl measure 4 tablespoons of curry powder, 3 teaspoons or ground coriander, a teaspoon each of ground cumin and chilli powder and ½ a teaspoon of turmeric. Meanwhile heat some oil in a small saucepan and fry the spices together with the garlic and ginger until aromatic.  Add this to the meat, cover and continue to simmer until the meat is tender. Season with salt to taste and 2 teaspoons of tamarind concentrate. Serve with rice or roti bread.

Written by michelle picker

December 11, 2012 at 10:04 am

celeriac with lentils and walnuts

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This enormous celeriac was just begging to be taken home and cooked!

Equally good on it’s own or as a side dish with meat, this recipe is based on a Stephanie Alexander recipe which is based on a Deborah Madison recipe……

First, heat some olive oil in a heavy pot and gently fry a diced onion, 1-2 diced carrots, 2 diced sticks of celery and a bay leaf until slightly wilted. Now add a finely diced clove of garlic, then a cup of brown lentils, 1½ cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarians) and a celeriac (or half depending on size) diced into 1 cm (½”) cubes. Simmer until the lentils are cooked but not mushy and the celeriac not too soft. Now heat some grape-seed oil in a small frypan and add ½ a cup of walnut pieces, heating them gently without browning. Add the walnuts and oil to the celeriac together with 2-3 tablespoons of chopped parlsey and a dash of sherry vinegar. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Written by michelle picker

August 25, 2011 at 8:28 pm

vegetarian curries

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Another curry feast, this time vegetarian.

This hard-boiled egg curry is adapted from a Reuben Solomon recipe. First, hard-boil 6 eggs and run cold water over them. For the sauce, heat ghee or vegetable oil and gently fry 2 onions, 3 cloves of garlic and a knob of ginger, all finely diced. When soft and starting to colour, add 3 teaspoons of ground coriander, 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of turmeric and ½ a teaspoon of chilli powder. Fry briefly then add a can of chopped tomatoes and a teaspoon of salt and simmer for 15-20 minutes, adding water if the sauce becomes too thick. Lastly, add the halved eggs and ½ a teaspoon of garam masala and heat through.

This curry of whole green lentils with spinach and ginger is from a Maddhur Jaffrey recipe. The lentils (1 cup) are first simmered in boiling water until soft. Do not salt them as this prevents the skins from softening. When the lentils are cooked, drain them in a colander and set aside. Meanwhile, wash a bunch of spinach and ½ a bunch of coriander (cilantro) well, dry as much as possible (a salad spinner does an excellent job of this) and chop roughly. Heat some vegetable oil in a large pan and fry 1-2 finely sliced fresh green chillies with some very finely grated fresh ginger (the original recipe suggests 1 teaspoon, but I used at least 4 times as much). Now add the spinach and coriander and cook until the spinach wilts. Add the lentils and 1-2 teaspoons of salt then cover and cook gently for 25 minutes. Finally, add freshly ground black pepper and the juice of half a lemon, check the seasoning and cook, uncovered, for a further 5 minutes.

And last, but not least, an eggplant and yoghurt accompaniment, again from a Maddhur Jaffrey recipe. Peel and cube 1 large eggplant and cook in a steamer until quite soft. Meawhile, with a fork, mix 600ml (1 pint) of plain natural yoghurt with a spring onion (cut into paper-thin rounds), 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh mint, ¼ teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper. When the eggplant is cooked, mash it roughly with a fork and spread on a plate to cool. When cooled, fold the eggplant into the yoghurt. For those who find curries spicy, this is a soothing, cooling side dish.

Written by michelle picker

June 12, 2011 at 2:34 am