Monday, July 19, 2010

Lentils with Parsley and Thyme

2 1/4 cups yellow lentils (half chana dal and half toor dal works well, because the smaller toor dal cooks to mush and automatically thickens the lentils)
2 cups chicken and/or veggie broth
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 onion, chopped
Minced jalapeno pepper and/or Aleppo pepper, to taste (depending on how hot the pepper is and how hot you like your food)
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
Olive oil
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
2 garlic cloves, pressed

Rinse the lentils well, pick through them to check for rocks, and drain. Add them to a pot with 2 cups broth and 3 cups water and set over medium heat. Just as it comes to a simmer, add the turmeric and turn the heat down to low (make sure it doesn't boil over -- if it comes to a rapid boil, the lentils will get all frothy. If this happens, turn the heat down and skim the froth off the top). Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in the onion, pepper, thyme, and parsley. Cover and continue to simmer for 10-20 more minutes, or until the lentils are tender. (If it's very liquidy, leave the lid ajar to let some of the water evaporate. If it's too dry, add a little more water. The lentils need to be in some liquid in order to cook, but I don't like my lentils very soupy, so if I'm not using toor dal, I puree 1-2 cups of this near the end to thicken it up a bit.)

Turn off heat. In a separate pan, heat 2-3 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds and toast in the oil for 10-20 seconds. Turn off the heat and immediately add the garlic, stir for a few seconds until it turns yellow or golden, then pour the mixture over the split peas and stir.

Serve with a scoop of basmati rice (underneath or on top) and vegetables on the side (carrots or greens stir-fried with mustard seed and ginger tend to go particularly well).

Serves 3-4

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