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Jan 10, 2014 10:00 AM

Red Lentils

We bought a large bag of red lentils at Costco and want to use them in various dishes. We are trying to cut down on our red meat intake and increase our legumes. My husband is from Turkey and he has a dish his mother made, which is one dish in my repertoire. I make a good lentil soup. That's two dishes. But I'm not sure what else to do. I know you can use them as a side like rice, but would like to use them in other dishes, as I know they are quite versatile. Wondering if any CHs can suggest ways they use red lentils in various dishes. Specifically as a main. Thanks!

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  1. I use red lentils quite a lot particularly for daal. Here's a recipe I posted on a WFD thread a few weeks back.

    "H, it's an adaptation of a daal I learned to cook in Sri Lanka.
    Don't really do measurements on this one but here's the recipe if you're interested.

    Red lentils
    Coconut Milk
    Frozen Spinach
    Curry powder
    Mustard seeds
    Half cinnamon stick
    Fresh curry leave.
    Garam masala
    Salt and sugar to taste.

    Fry off the mustard seeds and curry leaves for a minute or so on a very high heat. Turn to meduim heat. Add sliced onion and fry until translucent. Put in the curry powder and fry off add a little water to prevent the powder burning. Cook out for a couple of mins and add the lentils (after rinsing a couple of times) stir and add a tin of coconut milk and some water. Add some salt and sugar and the cinnamon stick. After about 10 mins take out the cinnamon (otherwise I find it a bit overpowering) and add some discs of frozen spinach-usually about 5 or 6 (this is for enough daal for 4 people).
    After another 10 mins the daal should be cooked. Check for seasoning and add garam masala at the last minute and stir in."

    1. Red lentils seem to make a lot of soup, stew and daal type dishes because they don't seem to retain their shape well (compared to green lentils).

      As a main, I've been considering using them to make red lentil burgers, but haven't settled on a single recipe source yet.

      1. Garden, my favorite red lentils dish is Ethiopian. I serve it with rice, bread salad and INJERA, the bread that serves as
        a plate and is also used for silverware. This lentil prep can also be served with rice and veggies, and/or fish.
        They cook very quickly, so need to be watched:
        Do not overcook. There are 2 kinds of berbere spices, the kind containing 5 peppers and the kind with fewer peppers.
        Authentically, it has 5 peppers plus these spices~
        ajwan seeds, allspice, black pepper, chili powder, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, nutmeg, paprika, salt. You can get Berbere blend Spice online at Zamouri Spice
        or make your own with the following recipe:
        The authentic 5 peppers is more difficult, but keeping some peppers separate allows you to negotiate the heat to your taste. You can use (additional) cayenne, chili powder, and
        hot paprika, mixed with a level teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice.

        4 cups of split red lentils
        1 large onion fine chopped
        1/2 cup or less of vegetable oil
        2 cloves garlic, minced or 2 t powdered
        1 grate a chunk of fresh ginger or a t powder
        2 large teaspoons Zamoura authentic Ethiopian Berbere powder.
        Salt (as needed
        )2 cups of water
        2-3 Cups TJ's marinera or 6 chopped tomats, plus 1-2 can fire roasted tomats

        Soak lentils for at least 1 hour. Drain and set aside.

        Saute onions in the oil until soft and golden, then add garlic and ginger, saute 5 minutes.

        Add Berbere spices and saute over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add tomato sauce/tomatoes and saute over medium heat stirring constantly some—5 or so minutes.
        Add soaked, drained lentils, stir to mix. Add water,stock is better,if necessary, bring to boil, turn down to simmer and cook for an hour or until soft and creamy. Scoop up with injera.

        Preparation Method: In large pot, simmer onion, garlic, and Berbere with vegetable oil. Add lentils and water continue to simmer for about 20 minutes at low heat, stirring occasionally until lentels are fully cooked. Serve hot with Injera (Ethiopian flat bread made of teff).
        This is so delicious. I do not know where you live, but in SoCal LA, you can get injera at the Ethiopian Merkato on Fairfax. Well worth the effort. The bread salad calls for
        iceberg lettuce, tomats, and bread soaked in Wishbone Italian dressing. I often use garlic/herb croutons which hold up well. This is the only dish combo where i would say the Wishbone Italian salad dressing is a must!
        Good luck with lentils! There are sites where other simple Ethiopian dishes are represented. It is my favorite cuisine.

        2 Replies
        1. re: VenusCafe

          That sounds delicious. I printed it out.

          Off topic I once had the most delicious green beans at an Ethiopian restaurant. I think I'll try a version of your recipe with green beans also. I've never found a green bean recipe that tasted anything like theirs. This combo might get close.

          1. re: VenusCafe

            Thank you VenusCafe - one of our favorite dishes I make here at home is Dorowat, so I always have a batch of Berebere mixed up and ready to go. That will make this recipe quite easy, actually. Great!

          2. There are several red lentil soups listed on this thread.


            1. Spilling the Beans contains recipes for making candied red lentils and candied red lentil meal. These are used in place of seeds or nuts in baked goods like fruit crisps and muffins, and taste like graham crackers. Unfortunately the book's index is not the best. It lists the recipe for candying the lentils, but not all the other dishes in the book whose recipes include them.