Lentils: the time has come

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Today started well. Up at 530 (that’s AM) for a gym class. Then, it kind of went pear-shaped. I was super tired afterwards, so I showered and went back to bed for a few hours. I can feel a mean head cold coming on so I’m still in my pyjamas and it’s already lunchtime. Yes. I’ve already broken the rule I set for myself yesterday. In my defence (!!), it’s damn cold here today and I’m not feeling well. But, I have made a few productive phone calls and am shortly heading off to the dentist. Just as soon as I get out of these pyjamas.

Feeling the need for a culinary hug, I’ve knocked up a bowl of lentil goodness for lunch. I found this in the amazing Jasmine Hemsley’s East by West, which has Ayurvedic recipes for ‘Ultimate Mind-Body Balance’. Sign me up.

A few tips for those who are new at cooking with lentils. First, there are many kinds. This recipe calls for brown lentils. I couldn’t find any of those so went with organic green. Totally the same thing, according to the lovely lady at The Source Bulk Foods, where I get unpackaged whole foods in an effort to buy my way to healthiness. Also, you need to soak them overnight. Apparently, lentil skins (shells?) contain ‘anti nutrients’ which make you feel a bit meh, but soaking these bad boys eliminates that. Great. Just remember it’s tricky to be spontaneous if you’re cooking with a lentil. Important lesson.

The full recipe is below, as is an ‘in progress’ photo of my cooking, featuring a super sharp Japanese knife.

In summary, this is a super quick dish and it delivered what I was looking for: a nice, warming culinary hug. That said, it came up a bit bland so I’ll need to add some more flavour when I hit up the left overs. Perhaps some Sriracha or chilli flakes.

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Brown lentil, spinach and coconut hotpot

*Credit to Jasmine Hemsley. Buy her book here

200g brown lentils, soaked for < 8 hours, rinsed & drained
400ml full-fat coconut milk
1 small onion, sliced
1 large garlic clove, chopped
250ml water
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
4cm piece of ginger, sliced
sea salt, pepper
200g spinach (fresh or frozen)
Tamarind paste, lemon or lime juice

Throw the lentils, coconut milk, garlic, onion, water, cumin, coriander and ginger into a saucepan. Allow to simmer, lid on, for 20 mins. Season.

Add the spinach, bring to a simmer and cook for another 5-10 mins. Add the tamarind paste (or lemon/lime juice) and serve.

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