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Bread, salad, vegetable dishes all with (surprisingly) lentils.

Bread, salad, vegetable dishes all with (surprisingly) lentils

Lentils provide a mellow background for complex flavors, such as those characteristic of Indian cuisine. Inspired by these flavorings, here we use lentils in Western ways with bread, salad, and a side dish.

You'll find common olive-green Chilean lentils in supermarkets, packaged in plastic bags and labeled simply as "lentils."

Somewhat larger are the tan Red Chief lentils, often sold decorticated, with the thin outer skin (or hull) removed to reveal the orange-red color inside. Look for the smaller and darker red-orange decorticated lentils, called Persians, in Indian and Mediterranean stores.

Lentils with skins on cook in less than an hour. Decorticated ones cook much faster; watch closely or they'll get mushy. All types taste a lot alike.

Seed-crusted Lentil Bread

3/4 cup lentils, decorticated or with skins

2 tablespoons each mustard seed and sesame seed

1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) melted butter or margarine

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Sort lentils to remove any debris; rinse and drain. Put lentils in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan; add 3 cups water and bring to boiling over high heat. Cover and simmer until lentils are tender to bite, about 15 minutes for decorticated, about 40 minutes for lentils with skins. Drain and cool.

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat, combine mustard seed and sesame seed. Shake pan frequently until sesame seed is lightly browned; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar, and eggs. Stir in lentils. Mix together flour, soda, salt, curry powder, baking powder, coconut, and all but 2 teaspoons of the mustard--sesame seed mixture; stir into lentil mixture until well combined. Pour batter into a greased and floured 5-by 9-inch loaf pan and sprinkle remaining mustard--sesame seed mixture on top.

Bake in a 350| oven until loaf just begins to pull from sides of pan and top is tinged brown, about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes and invert from pan. Serve warm, or cool and serve at room temperature. If made ahead, store airtight up to 1 week; freeze for longer storage. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Makes 1 loaf, about 2 pounds.

Lentil Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette

2 cups lentils, decorticated or with skins

4 cups regular-strength chicken broth

1 medium-size red or green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced

1 small red onion, chopped

Ginger vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Salt, optional

Sort lentils to remove any debris. Rinse and drain. In a 2- to 3-quart pan on high heat, bring broth to boiling. Add lentils, cover, and simmer until just tender to bite, about 8 minutes for decorticated, 30 minutes for lentils with skins. Drain, cool, cover, and chill until cold, about 2 hours, or up to overnight.

In a bowl, combine lentils, bell pepper, onion, and vinaigrette; mix well. Add salt to taste. Serves 6 or 7.

Ginger vinaigrette. Combine 1/2 cup salad oil, 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger, 1/3 cup lime juice, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Barley and Lentils with Mint

1 cup lentils, with skins or decorticated

1 cup pearl barley

4 cups regular-strength chicken broth

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

3/4 cup whole blanched almonds

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup minced fresh mint

Unflavored yogurt, optional

Sort lentils to remove any debris. Rinse and drain lentils and barley. In a 2- to 3-quart pan, bring broth to boiling; add lentils (with skins) and barley, cover, and simmer until tender to bite, about 40 minutes; drain. (If using decorticated lentils, do not add until barley is almost tender, about 30 minutes. Then stir lentils into barley and cook just until tender to bite, about another 10 minutes.)

Meanwhile, in a 10- by 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, stir butter, almonds, and raisins often until almonds are golden and raisins are puffed, about 10 minutes; set aside. Stir minced mint into lentils and barley, then pour into a bowl and sprinkle with almonds and raisins. Offer yogurt to add to taste, if you like. Serves 6 to 7.

Photo: Seed-speckled bread (left) gets its golden hue from red decorticated lentils. Lentils come with skins (above) or hulled (decorticated); hulled lentils are red to red-orange in color, depending on variety
COPYRIGHT 1988 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Apr 1, 1988
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