We’re having a bit of a Lentil Love-in at I♥CC this week. It will be most interesting to see the different preparations we come up with… Who will use green? Who will brave the black? Is anyone ready for red? My childhood memories of lentils are minimal. I don’t recall my parents selecting lentils over pinto beans, butter beans or navy beans. That was my legume education until I reached the 8th grade. At that time USDA started subsidizing the school lunch programs with commodities. Apparently we got a LOT of lentils. I’ll give the ladies credit…they substituted those lentils for every meat form they could manage.
For my dish this week, I selected Madhur Jaffrey’s Green Lentils with Lemon Slice, page 88 from her Foolproof Indian Cookery. There’s some serious irony here… I burned 2 pans of lentils earlier this week trying this recipe. Go figure. The first pan had just begun to scorch…and the timer had just gone off. It was early, so I started another pan. That one I walked away from for a few minutes too long and before I even got a lid on it they’d burned. We had fajitas that night. This time, I was so careful, I was a little too cautious and had too much liquid at the end of the cooking time. By comparison…I’ll take the extra liquid!
When the lentils are fully cooked they are dressed with salt and chopped fresh coriander (cilantro, by any other name), and a hot oil mixture of brown mustard seeds, hot chiles and garlic. Lemon slices are stirred in just before serving. Oh my…the aromas that pop out with Indian cuisine! This meal resulted in my 3rd and 4th Indian recipes. I’m working through this!! As an accompaniment, I chose Rice with Mushrooms and Mustard Seeds from Ms. Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking,page 102. I’m going to resist the temptation to tell you about this one, other than TRY IT!!!
Although not a particularly colorful plate, it was sure tasty! I confess to being somewhat leery of some of the flavor profiles…still. I’ll get there…I’m working up to it! LOL! From my vast elementary school experience, lentils have little flavor on their own, but accept seasonings amazingly well. The overall flavor profile was rather subdued…and the lemon slices brought a brightness in that virtually made the dish. The lentils rate a solid medium, but the rice scored high. I may have discovered what I’m missing in my Mexican rice… And what an experience toasting mustard seeds in hot oil is!! Prepare for SPATTER! One cookbook has now been anointed with rice bran oil. Oh well. *Ü* I’m sure it won’t be the last time that happens!!
Come back at visit us next week when we take on “Battle Yogurt”…better known around I♥CC as “Everything’s Better with Yogurt.” I’ll have to think about that one…