Spiced red lentils with cucumber yogurt

December 20, 2012

Spiced red lentils with cucumber yogurt

Page 221, Ottolenghi

All the snow put us in the mood for fabulous Indian food, so B made curried cauliflower and I made this lovely version of dal from Ottolenghi’s Plenty. It came together quickly despite the daunting list of ingredients and dinner was the perfect cold weather antidote! Along with a few games of chess and a bottle of red wine for me. Ah, I DO love vacation.

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Spiced red lentils with cucumber yogurt

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 ½ cups cold water, plus more as needed
  • 1 bunch cilantro, well washed
  • 1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 ½ inch squash piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño or other mild green chili (use less to cut back on the heat), stem end removed
  • 1 ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp fenugreek (optional)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 ¾ cup canned diced tomatoes
  • Salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice

For the Cucumber Yogurt

  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup finely diced cucumber
  • Salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil

To Serve

  • Basmati rice
  • Chopped cilantro leaves
  • A drizzle of olive oil

Cover the lentils with the water and set aside.

Cut the cilantro bunch so you have the leaves roughly separated from the stems.  Place the stems in the bowl of a food processor and chop the leaves roughly and set aside.  Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño to the cilantro stems and pulse until finely chopped, but not a paste.

Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add the mustard seeds, and once they begin to pop add the oil and onion mixture.  Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes until soft and aromatic.  Add the spices and cook another 5 minutes.

Add the brown sugar, tomatoes, and a big pinch of salt along with the lentils and their soaking liquid.  Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low, cover, and cook 30-40 minutes until the lentils are soft.  Check periodically to make sure the liquid hasn’t all been absorbed – add a little more water as needed.  Once cooked, add the butter, lime juice, and reserved chopped cilantro leaves.  Taste for seasoning – it will likely need another big pinch of salt.

While the lentils are cooking, prepare the cucumber yogurt by mixing together the yogurt, cucumbers, and olive oil with a little salt.

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