I took a class last semester in which we looked at recipes from antiquity, and low and behold they flavored their stewed lentils with a dash of fish sauce. The addition of the fish sauce does great things, and adds a subtle flavor that you can’t quite taste, but know you like. This recipe is completely vegetarian and fairly simple to prepare, but the spices contribute to an incredible warmth and depth of flavor. The fried shallots add a bit of textural variation and the yogurt ties everything together once mixed in. It’s also another recipe which is just as good cold as it is warm, which is always nice.
- 1 cup black lentils
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups vegetable stock or water
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1 lemon, zest + 1 tbsp of juice
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce ( I like red boat)
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 2 shallots,
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup greek yogurt ( or any thick unsweetened yogurt)
1. In a medium sized pot add lentils, stock, cumin, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Stew until lentils are just about cooked.
2. While lentils are cooking heat up vegetable oil in a small pan and add thinly sliced shallot slices, let fry untilbrown and crisp (but not too dark) then transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
3. Once lentils are cooked add one finely minced shallot, ginger powder, fish sauce, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard powder, all spice, turmeric, cilantro, and mustard powder. Let stew for a few more minutes and season to taste.
4. In a small bowl mix yogurt with lemon zest.
To serve: plate lentils then top with a dollop of yogurt, fried shallots and a few cilantro leaves.