Coconut curried lentils with Jeera Pork. Let that sink in for a moment. Right now, you are saying this dispels all that I’ve heard and thought of about lentils. They are mushy and only found in Indian cuisine. That is so far from the truth.
I made this dish recently at a cooking demonstration at the Home Design and Remodeling Show in Fort Lauderdale. Everyone loved it, loved the how crisp and clean the flavors were and how easy it was to prepare. Today I’m writing about how healthy, nutritious and tasty lentils can be.
Lentils are a member of the legume family, low in fat, a power house for several minerals and protein and are a great source of cholesterol lowering fiber. You can find them in various colors: red, yellow, black, green & brown. All have varying tastes and texture after they are cooked, but hearty and nutty can always be your guide.
If you love your heart, eat lots of lentils. Finding different way to cook lentils will be a great way to explore recipes, techniques and cooking traditions in different cuisines from around the world – French lentil salad with crispy bacon; Dal from India; Dhalpourie and Doubles from Trinidad; Spatzle with lentils & sausage from Germany; lentil hummus from the Kasbah. Yes, the choices are numerous.
So what can you make with lentils? Soups, stews, salads, crusts for fish (panko bread crumbs, grounded lentils with parmesan cheese, spices and dried parsley) and even cakes are some things to make with lentils. They are really easy to cook. Just remember that the green and brown lentils will maintain their shape better after they are cooked. The others tend to get mushy when they are done – best for soups, purees, dips. Cooking time for lentils will take between 20 to 30 minutes so there is no need to soak them overnight.
Before cooking the lentils, spread them out to see any unwanted particles such as grit or dried pods. To cook the lentils, use a ratio of 3:1, three parts liquid to one part lentils. They are much easier to digest if you cook them in already boiling water. I usually saute them with some aromatics such as carrots, onion, garlic and maybe some thyme before I add the hot liquid which can be just water or flavored stock. Season the lentils when the water is boiling then reduce the heat to simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat when done.
I implore you to try the dish, the curried coconut lentils with Jeera Pork or some other Lentil recipe, you will love it.
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Lentils pack a punch
Geera Pork Tenderloin
1 Tb Geera Spice (Indian Spice) toasted ground Coriander seeds
1 tsp Alspice berries
1 tsp Black pepper corns
1 Tb Ginger powder
1 tsp Red pepper flakes
2 lb Pork tenderloin, cleaned
3 Tb Olive oil
4 Garlic cloves, minced finely
1 Tb Dried parsley
2 Tb Olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
- Set oven to 375 degrees.
- Geera spice can bought as is in most Indian grocery stores. To make your own, place a ¼ cup of coriander seeds in a pan on medium low heat. Heat until the seeds become fragrant. Remove and put into spice grinder.
- Place the seeds, peppers flakes and ginger in spice grinder and pulse until smooth.
- Add the oil, garlic, parsley and mix together in a non- reactive bowl. Cut the tenderloin in half and season with the spice mix then add to oil mixture and toss. Cover and marinate for at least an hour or best overnight.
- On medium heat, add oil then season tenderloin pieces with salt & pepper then add to the pan and brown on all sides, then remove from heat. Place on flat tray and place in oven. Cook for about 6 -8 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 3 – 5 minutes before slicing.
3 Tb Olive oil
2 Tb Curry powder – Jamaican,
¼ cp Small diced onions
1 Tb Chopped garlic
¼ cp Small diced carrots
3 sprigs Thyme
2 cps Green lentils
2 cps Brown lentils
8 cps Vegetable stock or chicken stock
4 cps Coconut milk
Season with salt & pepper
2 -3 Tb Olive oil
¼ cup Diced onions
1 Tb Chopped garlic
1 Tb Chopped ginger
½ cup Diced red peppers
1 cup Diced tomatoes
Zest of one lemon
Juice of half lemon
¼ cup Chopped green onions
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tb Chopped cilantro leaves
1. Add oil to medium sauce pot on medium heat. Add onions, thyme, ginger and garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Season with a little salt and stir. Add the lentils and stir. Cook for another minute.
2. Add the stock and coconut milk. Let come to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover then remove from heat when most of the liquid has been absorbed. This should take about 20-30 minutes. If lentil is still a little firm just add a little more liquid and cook until tender and then remove from heat.
3. Add oil to saute pan on medium heat then add onions, garlic and ginger then saute for 1 minute. Add the peppers and sauté for 1minute then add tomatoes. Saute for two minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add green onions and remove from heat.
4. Add cooked lentils to a large bowl then add the cooked vegetables and cilantro. Add the lemon zest and juice and toss to combine. Check for seasoning again.