Friday, October 20, 2006

A Lentil Recipe

Further forays into Madhur Jaffrey’s Cookbook have yielded some more useful vegetarian recipes. We’re hosting some students from our sister school in Germany this week and I was all geared up for ravenous teenagers, planning sustaining meals for after they had been working hard at the school all day. Visions of loaves of bread vanishing in an instant and double quantities of everything faded before the reality of the individuals themselves. Unassuming eaters, they sampled everything in small quantities but hardly made inroads into the mountain of food I’d assembled. One is vegetarian, so I hurriedly consulted Madhur Jaffrey for an alternative to the cottage pie I’d made and found a simple recipe for lentils and tomatoes that works hot or cold.

Lentils with Garlic and Tomatoes

4 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic finely chopped
½ lb/225g tomatoes (1 large or 2 small) peeled and finely chopped
6 ½ oz/185g dried whole green lentils washed
¾ - 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat the oil in a heavy pot over a medium flame. When hot put in the garlic. Stir and fry till the garlic browns lightly. Add the tomatoes. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes turn to a paste. Put in the lentils and 1pint/ ½ liter of water. Bring to the boil then cover, lower heat and simmer gently for one hour. Add the salt and lemon juice. Stir to mix.

I will try this with some fresh herbs added too, maybe some fresh coriander or just chopped parsley - with a dollop of greek yoghurt on top and a hunk of bread it could be a meal in itself. We had baked potatoes with it and salad, as well as the cottage pie for the meat eaters.

I’m now looking up recipes with chick-peas for another meal. I like them, but naturally the children aren’t keen, so this is another chance to experiment with new recipes. The students are off to Hermanus to see the whales for the weekend now, so I’ll have to restrain my hospitable ardour till their return. Then I’ll be planning meals for my parents’ imminent visit...what do you fancy for supper on Wednesday, Mummy?!

One thing about having visitors here in South Africa is that almost all the flights from Europe are overnight and from the States or Australia day and night, so everyone arrives at early morning rush hour, exhausted from sitting up all night with little sleep. We have learned to be gentle on new arrivals, providing light refreshments, no sight-seeing and then plenty of time to sleep for half the day. Unfortunately the children's excitement over seeing Granny and Grandpa and anticipation over rifling their suitcases for certain riches of new clothes and maybe other presents, means that they usually have to hold out till the afternoon for a nap. Our visiting students crashed out at ten o'clock for the rest of the day, so that goes to prove that the oldies have more stamina than fresh faced youth!


  1. That sound delicious, and with the weather just cooling off here I think I'll try it.

    I only like chickpeas when made into hummus, but one of my kids always begs to have them not mashed up! ;)

  2. Lentils, delicious recipe!

  3. I am going to make this lentil recipe tomorrow, it sounds good.

  4. Okay, I made this last night, but I was all out of lentils, so I used quinoa and it turned out quite yummy.

  5. I've never cooked with quinoa or eaten it come to that, will have to try it one day. Glad it was good!


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