Saturday, July 17, 2010

Black Lentils and Yellow Split Peas

I wasn't too impressed with this when I first tried it. It was certainly very spicy, but it was missing something, which could perhaps be blamed on my cardamom or cilantro omissions, but I wasn't convinced. Then I realized what it was missing ... cheese! A little feta made all the difference. The best part of this recipe is it can be made using ingredients I almost always have on hand (I keep pickled serrano peppers around for Tex-Mex). It is a bit spicy, so if you don't like things too hot, cut back on the peppers. Note the original suggest using a food processor to chop everything, but I just did it by hand.

Black Lentils and Yellow Split Peas (adapted from 660 Curries)

3/4 cup split black lentils, rinsed
1/4 cup yellow split peas
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 large red onion, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
3 serrano chiles (or green Thai or cayenne), minced
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher or sea salt
feta to taste

1. Place lentils and split peas in a medium saucepan. Add 3 cups water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Skim off any foam that forms.
2. Stir in turmeric, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, but still firm and most of the water has evaporated, 30 - 35 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin, chopped onion, chiles, garlic, and ginger. Stir-fry until onion is lightly browned, 8 - 10 minutes.
4. Add salt to onion mixture. Pour in 1 cup water. Set aside until lentils are ready.
5. When lentils are tender, pour onion mixture into lentils stirring once or twice. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils absorb the flavours and further soften, 15 - 20 minutes.
6. Serve, topping with feta as desired.

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