In the Kitchen this week, a lentil or two…
On a recent visit we enjoyed a duo mozzarella plate (buffalo and smoked) with a glass of an excellent blend from Da Luca of the Primitivo and Merlot grapes from Puglia. The spheres of mozzarella were bursting with freshness and delicate taste, the chewy, garlicky bread was still warm from the oven and the wine, served in a smartly designed glass, was deeply rich, displaying the subtle earthiness typical of the vineyards of southeastern, Adriatic Italy. The mozzarella having vanished from our plates, we carried our still half-full wine glasses to a table under the palm trees to enjoy the fresh air and watch the world go by. If there is a better way to spend an evening in Limassol, please let me know.
Lentils come on various forms. I like the green ones cooked slightly al dente and used as a minced meat alternative in a pasta sauce. They make a delicious pilaff, too, just lentils and rice cooked in stock, or with some additions, like this one… 225g / 8oz red lentils 2 tbsp sunflower oil 1 medium onion, thinly sliced 4 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tbsp finely grated ginger 1/2 tsp each powdered chilli, coriander, turmeric (or a pinch of each plus a level tsp of medium curry powder) 1 tsp salt 300g / 11 oz canned plum tomatoes, finely chopped
1. Rinse the lentils cold water.
2. Bring to the boil, lid tightly, turn down the heat and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes till soft. 3. Meanwhile, fry the onion gently in the oil till golden, which should take 10-15 minutes. 4. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a further 4 minutes. 5. Sprinkle in the spices and salt, stir, add the tomatoes, bubble up, cover, turn down the heat and simmer for 8 minutes or so, till the tomato begins to darken.
6. Stir in the lentils with a draining spoon, adding water to make a thick purée.
7. Cover again and simmer for another 10 minutes. For a soupier dal, add more water.
till the water runs clear and put them in a deep saucepan with 60 cl