Lentils? Don’t ‘dis’ them, they’re delicious!

When asked how vegetarians supplement protein in their diet, I answer ‘lentils’. But although tasty and easy to prepare, many people do not know how to go about it.

I fell in love with lentils thanks to Indian cuisine. In India, where the world’s largest number of vegetarians are found, it is usually cooked as Dal. Used with a wide variety of spices and ingredients – always tasty, nutritious and healthy – lentils are worth a ​permanent place on the menu.

Before use, rinse, and if you want to shorten the cooking time – soak (especially brown and black lentils) a few hours will do.

Here are my favourite tried and tested recipes; mostly here by special request of my delighted – and surprised – non-veg friends:

Three Lentil Dal

1/3 cup yellow lentils
1/3 cup red lentils
1/3 cup brown lentils
2 cups of water
1-2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
1 onion, 3-4 cloves of garlic, 2 chopped medium tomatoes
spices according to taste: cumin, coriander, mustard, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, paprika

Lightly roast the spices on the ghee . Add some chopped tomato, garlic and onions, stir-fry. Pour on turmeric and garam masala, stir fry.

Sprinkle on the 3 types of lentils, then add the chopped tomatoes and heat while stirring. Cover with water or the vegetable juice and add salt to taste. I like to add some dried curry leaves, which give the dish an exceptional flavour.

Cover then cook for about 15-20 minutes, until lentils are tender and some of the water has boiled off (depending on preferred consistency). Tastes great by itself, hot or cold, but also goes well with basmati rice or bread. For those who have problems with bloating I would also recommend adding a little Kombu Algae (konbu). Just a small piece makes beans and peas easier to digest.

Chicory boats with lentils

1/2 cup yellow lentils
1/2 small onion, 2 cloves of garlic
ghee or oil
chicory leaves

On the ghee fry the finely chopped onion and garlic. Rinse and add lentils. Add water (about 1 cup) and boil till the water evaporates, making sure to keep stirring to avoid scorching. Lentils should be soft but not mushy. If preferred add a small amount of salt or spices (such as turmeric). The result should be a sweet, mild flavour, contrasting nicely with the slight bitterness of chicory.

The lentils are now ready to be placed on the chicory leaves, and hey presto, a great hot or cold snack!

Lentil Pate

1 cup lentils (yellow, red, brown, or mixed)
2-3 eggs
vegetables, according to the following:

Version I (my favourite): 1 cup of chopped leek stewed in butter or olive oil (i.e. plenty of fat), salt and pepper, nutmeg according to taste.

Version II: braised onions, garlic and mushrooms, salt, pepper.

Version III: 1 cup course grated carrots, lightly steamed with other vegetables, salt, pepper, cumin, chilli, turmeric and other spices according to taste.

Pour 2 cups of water on the lentils, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the water boils off and the lentils soften. Allow to cool. Stir in the prepared vegetables and eggs and season; aiming for a semi-liquid consistency.

Bake for 30 minutes at 180 º C. Cool and store in the refrigerator before removing the baking foil.

I use two small molds (made of silicone, so you don’t have to lubricate them beforehand). This is my first and so far only pate recipe which is always successful: it always tastes good and never crumbles!

TIP: it’s worth trying the pate together with horseradish. A tried and tested method is whipped cream (32%), mixed with a few teaspoons of horseradish.



Recipies received, adapted and borrowed from Ela, Krzysia, Krysia and Agnieszka Kręglicka. Thank you!

(polish version)


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2 Responses to “Lentils? Don’t ‘dis’ them, they’re delicious!”

  1. All Posts « NaturAsia Says:

    […] English « A thorough clean out – detox part. 1 (Do It Yourself Panchakarma) Lentils? Don’t ‘dis’ them, they’re delicious! […]

  2. All Posts « NaturAsia Says:

    […] in English « Lentils? Don’t ‘dis’ them, they’re delicious! […]

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