About a month ago, I posted a video on Instastories of a lentil dish made by my mother. I've spoken about my mum's lentils on the blog for some time - years, probably - without sharing a recipe. After multiple requests prompted by that video, I finally asked mum for her notes. And not only did she write the recipe down, she made us another batch.
Mum's recipe has evolved over the years, mainly in regards to which spices she uses, though the overall dish remains fairly similar to what my brothers and I ate growing up. This was practically a weekly staple for us, one we never tired of. Mum would make a big pot and we'd eat it over basmati rice for dinner, and then on toast for breakfast. These lentils are comforting, delicious and supremely nourishing. When my brothers and I would visit Red Hill during our years at University, Mum would often send us back to the city with a container or two of these lentils, ensuring we didn't survive solely on rice with soy sauce and peas, and cheap cask wine. Last night, while eating our latest lentil delivery, Ben suggested we turn it into lentil pie. Whether he meant a pasty topping or mashed potato, it's a fantastic idea. Next batch, mum?
Makes a big pot. Serves perhaps 6-8, depending on your appetite and whether it's the main feature of your meal.
Note: these are mum's preferred spices. If you wish, you can use a mix of alternative spices, like cumin, chilli, turmeric and ginger. Though obviously it won't taste quite the same as mum's. Instead of the passata you could use two tins of tomatoes. Also, mum recently started adding cherry tomatoes, however you could leave them out or add regular cherry tomatoes if you can't get canned.
375 g of dried, whole green lentils
1 brown onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 heaped teaspoons of Gerwurshaus Garam masala
2 heaped teaspoons of Herbies lentil and dhal spice
350ml tomato passata
1 x 400g can crushed tomatoes
1 x 400g can cherry tomatoes
400ml water (just re-fill the empty tomato can)
400ml chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea salt to taste
To serve: cooked rice and fresh parsley
1. Rinse the lentils in a fine strainer.
2. Fry the onion in olive oil until translucent, then add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Next add the lentils and stir for 2 minutes, followed by the spices, stirring to cook for 3 more minutes.
3. Add the passata, crushed tomatoes, water and broth. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a low simmer.
4. After 20-30 mins add the can of cherry tomatoes (if using) and more water if needed.
5. Cook until lentils are at your preferred bite. Season, then serve.