Food for Friends

Indian Lentils - Serves 6 - 8

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Ingredients: 450 grams lentils*, 1 cinnamon stick, 7.5cm long, 1 bay leaf, 5 cloves of garlic (peeled), 2 slices, fresh ginger (peeled and cut into 3mm pieces about 25mm diameter, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1 lemon, 1 and half teaspoons salt, freshly ground balck pepper, half teaspoon cayenne pepper, 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, a pinch of asafetida, half teaspoon whole cumin seeds.

1. Wash the lentils and drain. In a 3 millilitre heavy-bottomed pot, combine the lentils, 1.5 litres of water,

cinnamon stick, bay leaf, garlic cloves, ginger slices, and tumeric. Bring to the boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer gently until cooked, about 35 - 45 minutes.

2. Slice the lemon into 5 or 6 rounds. Remove seeds, lift the cover of the pot and put in the lemon slices, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Stir, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes.

3. Just before serving, heat the vegetable oil in a 15cm frying pan over a mdeium heat. When very hot. put in the

asafetida and cumin seeds. As soon as the asafetida begin to sizzle and expand, and the cumin seeds darken, pour the contents of the frying pan over the lentiils and stir.

*This is Madhur Jaffrey's recipe for dry lentils "as bought in an English supermarket".