In the Kitchen this week, a lentil or two…

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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