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(Sorta) Soup Sunday: Everything Goes Lentils

March 6, 2011

Because we had company this weekend and we are also celebrating my husbands birthday (which is tomorrow), I didn’t put soup on the menu. So… today I have for you something that is (sorta) soup-like. Well, it is more stew-like. It’s lentils and it’s delicious.

The other day while I was moseying around my favorite local grocery/health food/ethnic food store I spied some Naan, which is an Indian flatbread. I hadn’t had some in a long time and it sounded quite tasty. Since it was just going to be me for dinner that night, I grabbed them off the shelf and decided to make some lentils to go with them.

Now, this is where having a well stocked spice cupboard comes in handy. I really have no idea how to cook Indian food, as the only Indian dish I have made was Shahi Paneer, and my husband was the one doing most of the cooking. But, this is the joy of cooking – experimenting. So I rummaged through my spice cabinet and my fridge, and behold – “Everything Goes Lentils.” A super easy and super quick weeknight meal.

Everything Goes Lentils

1 1/2 cups lentils (I used split apricot lentils – any kind works)
3+ cups water
Handful of kale
A few sprigs of fresh parsley
Curry Powder
Garam Masala Powder
Cardamom
Ginger Powder
Fenugreek Powder
Berbere Spice
Garlic Powder
Onion powder
Salt and Pepper

In a pot, bring your lentils and water to a boil. It will take 20-30 minutes for the lentils to cook. While the lentils start to cook feel free to do something else in the kitchen – I think I was half cleaning the kitchen and half starting some tomato sauce for the next night’s dinner. Just make sure to keep an eye on the lentils, because you may need to add more water.

Once the lentils are starting to get softer, you can start adding your desired spices. I like to wait until this point to add the spices so that I can taste as I go, but you can add them at the beginning too. Now remember, I had no clue what I was doing when I was adding in these spices, so feel free to have a little fun with it. If you are unsure of how certain spices taste, just start slow and taste as you go! Here is my best recollection of what went in the pot…

Garlic and onion powder are base flavors, put in quite a bit of these, maybe a teaspoon of each. Curry powder and garam masala (which is a type of Indian curry powder) give the dish the Indian-type flavoring. I probably put in at least 2 teaspoons of curry powder and 1 teaspoon of garam masala. I have whole cardamoms, so I threw one of those in and just took it out later, but you could use cardamom powder too. I absolutely love ginger, so I put in a good sprinkling of that too. I really have no idea what the fenugreek powder tastes like or is used for, I bought it for a recipe I never made – so, I put a little in, because why not?! The berbere spice is a spice used in Ethiopia that my mom gave me. Since it is not widely used or known of, you could probably substitute a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, as berbere adds a little spicy-ness. Add salt and pepper to your liking and in the last 5 minutes or so add in a handful of torn kale and parsley. Cook until the kale and lentils are soft. I was a little skeptical of putting the kale in there, but it turned out really good.

I topped my lentils with a little feta cheese (yum!) and paired it with some naan flat-bread. To make your naan extra yummy rub some olive oil on it and sprinkle one side with salt and fry it up in a skillet.

Hearty, healthy, and tasty!

-liz

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