10 July 2008

Beans and Lentils

Dal with Coconut Milk

1 c red lentils
5 c water

1 T oil
1 T minced garlic
2 T minced shallots
Lots of crushed red pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1 c coconut milk

Boil the lentils in a large pot in the 5 cups water till they're soft, then keep warm. Heat a pan over high heat and add the oil, then add the garlic and shallots and stir-fry for a minute. Add the rest of the spices and cook 2 more minutes, then add the salt and coconut milk, lower the heat, and cook 5 minutes. Add the spice mixture to the hot lentils and simmer a couple of minutes.

Red Lentil Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 c beef broth
2 c red lentils
16 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Combine everything in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40-50 minutes, adding more beef broth if needed. Serve with plain yogurt, if desired. This is nearly universally liked, even by people who are unfamiliar with Middle Eastern flavors. Serves 6. The recipe is from the first edition of The Jewish Holiday Cookbook by Gloria Greene.


6-9 corn tortillas, torn into bite-sized pieces, and fried in a bit of oil till golden (set aside)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
1/2 Tbsp dried oregano leaves
Crushed red pepper to taste
2 cups cooked black beans
1 tsp salt
Plain yogurt

Heat oil in a frying pan (cast-iron is good), then add onion and saute till soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, oregano, and at least 1/2 c water (add more if needed). Simmer 3-8 minutes (longer if your tomatoes were fresh). Add beans, salt, and fried tortilla bits. Heat through and serve warm, topped with yogurt. It shouldn't be dry, so add more water as needed. Serves 4. Based on a recipe from Flatbreads and Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.

Couscous and Garbanzos with Spicy Garlic Sauce

1 onion
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup couscous
Chicken broth
2 cups cooked garbanzos
2 T olive oil
1 T garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne, or more

Saute onion in 2 T olive oil in a large pan. Steam couscous over chicken broth (or prepare according to package instructions, or just boil it in some chicken broth till done). Add the warm garbanzos and couscous to the onions, then add the rest of the ingredients and cook for a couple more minutes and serve. I like this with plain yogurt. Serves 4. I have no idea where I got this recipe.


4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin seed
1 cup rice
1 cup red lentils
1 tsp salt
Crushed red pepper (or black)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1-2 Tbsp butter

In a frying pan, saute garlic in oil just till you can smell the garlic (don't let it brown), then add cumin, tomato paste, rice, and lentils. Stir over low heat till coated with oil. Cover with 4 cups boiling water, add salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, adding water if necessary. Stir in butter, let melt, and serve with plain yogurt. Serves four. This comes from The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden.


We ate koshary almost every day in Cairo.

Equal parts cooked brown lentils, rice, and macaroni
Spicy tomato sauce

The easiest way to cook lentils, rice and pasta is to boil water in a big pot, then add 1/2 cup of lentils. Cook for 20 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of rice. Cook for 12 more minutes, then add the pasta. Cook for 8 more minutes and everything should be done. Change the proportions as desired. Serve in individual bowls topped with tomato sauce. If you like, you can cook the lentils, rice, and pasta separately and serve them in layers as is done in Cairo.

1-2 pounds fresh tomatoes, or use canned
Lots of garlic
Lots of crushed red pepper

Saute the garlic briefly in oil, then add the tomatoes. Cook them down, then add the red pepper and the vinegar and salt. This is a sharp and spicy sauce that needs more vinegar than you might think.

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