Lentils and Lentil Soup

Fragrant with cumin and a touch of curry, ginger and garlic, these lentils are flavorful comfort food on a cold evening. This recipe was inspired by Faryal, a Pakistani friend who showed me how to cook her delicious lentils. I also use this recipe for Chana Dall, which is a South Asian yellow lentil.

Ingredients:

2 cups washed lentils

6 cups boiling water (8 cups if making soup)

1 Tb olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tb of cumin

½ tsp to taste red pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

1 tsp of curry powder

½ tsp ginger powder

1 ½ tsp grated ginger

1 ½ tsp grated turmeric or ½ tsp turmeric powder

several grinds of black pepper

1-2 tsp salt to taste (after lentils are cooked)

Heat olive oil in the bottom of a large heavy pot. Add a finely chopped onion When onion softens, add cumin, garlic, red pepper flakes, bay leaves,  curry powder, ginger. and several grinds of black pepper. Heat a few minutes then add 2 cups washed lentils and 6 cups boiling water (8 cups if making soup) Bring to a boil, then turn on low and cover. It should take about an hour. Stir every so often. Keep an eye out to add more water if needed.

I made these for Hanukkah and added the onion juice from the grated onions I’d made for latkes after they had sat for awhile. This upped the flavor another notch.

Do not add salt until the lentils are fully cooked, as the salt toughens them. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve lentils with grated sharp cheddar, if desired. Also good with fresh cilantro.