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Home Chef: Eat your legumes

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Lentils are versatile, cheap and surprisingly delicious! Try them in a salad, an Indian dhal or as a tasty accompaniment to meat or fish

Lentil and Squash Salad

Serves 2

• 350g butternut squash, chopped
• 75ml cucumber and mint raita
• 250g tin Puy lentils
• 2tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
• 1 large apple, chopped
• 1 small lettuce, sliced fine

Heat the oven to 220°C. Toss the squash in a little olive oil, season and roast for 30 minutes or until golden. Make a raita by combining plain Greek yoghurt with finely sliced cucumber and mint. Add 3 teaspoons of water, stir until smooth and set aside. Toss the lentils with half the raita, squash and parsley. Mix in the apples and lettuce. Tip the salad onto a plate, top with the remaining squash, raita and parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Tarka Dhal

Serves 2

• 400g red lentils
• 2tsp turmeric
• 30g unsalted butter
• 2tsp cumin seeds
• 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 2 fresh green chillies, finely sliced
• 3-inch piece fresh ginger, finely grated
• 2 tomatoes, chopped small
• 1tsp garam masala
• 1tsp ground coriander
• 3tsp fresh coriander, chopped fine

Place the lentils in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, skim off any surface scum, and reduce to a simmer. Stir in the turmeric and half the butter. Cover and leave to cook gently. Dry-fry the cumin seeds for 3 minutes. Remove from the pan. Melt the remaining butter in the same pan and gently fry the garlic, onion, chillies, ginger and tomatoes. Once the garlic is golden, mix in the toasted cumin seeds, garam masala and ground coriander. Once the lentils are completely soft (the consistency of porridge) mix in the spices. Season to taste, top with fresh coriander, and serve
with rice and greens.

Salmon with Lentils

Serves 2

• 2 salmon fillets
• 1 lemon, finely sliced
• 1 garlic clove, chopped fine
• 1 medium onion, chopped fine
• 4 streaky bacon rashers, diced
• 250g tin Puy lentils
• ½ fish stock cube
• 2tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
• 1tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1tbsp capers, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake the salmon for 25 minutes, with the lemon slices arranged on top. Fry the garlic, onion and bacon. Drain off excess oil. Warm the lentils, adding the crumbled stock cube. Mix in the garlic, onion and bacon. Cook through then stir in 1 tablespoon of parsley, and the mustard and capers. Place the salmon and a few spinach leaves on top of the lentils, garnish with the remaining parsley and serve.

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