A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Red Lentil Volcano

I cooked those beautiful red lentils I bought a few months ago, and indeed, as I'd read, they break down really easily. They're delicious, but in a pleasingly mushy sort of way.

They also, if you leave them unattended over too-high heat, will explode all over the stove.

Moreover, they're not really red. Uncooked they're coral, and though there is a dash of turmeric in there to enhance the yellow, they're quite naturally yellow when cooked.

The recipe was from Modern Indian Cooking, a book I scorned when its publicist first sent it to Cooking Habit. It has a terrible index -- unusable, actually. It's just the recipes in alphabetical order, so there's no index entry for lentils, just "Spicy Red Lentils"... under "S". As for the recipes, they're sort of Indian fusion. I was not impressed. But I've come to it several times in the last few months looking for simple vegetable and bean recipes, and I've been impressed. I won't post the whole recipe here, at least not yet -- I'm not completely happy with it yet -- but it's simple: lentils precooked with turmeric and a bay leaf, then some sauteed onion and ginger, basic spices like cinnamon and cumin, fresh chiles, lime juice, and cilantro. It's almost Mexican except for the ginger, and very fresh and good.

Further revelation: turnips are awesome. I cubed them, tossed them with olive oil and salt, and roasted them at 375 for about 20 minutes. This was on a hunch, since I love sweet potatoes and beets and other root vegetables that way, and it worked perfectly for turnips. Unlike sweet potatoes and beets, though, they were better warm than at room temperature.


Laura said...

I too became obsessed with roasted turnips after getting a few batches of turnips in my CSA share this fall. I've been using this recipe from Cooks Illustrated, which adds rosemary, shallots and garlic. So good!

Eva said...

Yum, Laura! Next time I'll try that. And I'm definitely still in for half a CSA share with you guys when the farm starts producing again.

Mark Richardson said...


Those turnips look extra fine. I'll be push-polling for a plate of them the next time I roll through Columbia.

I trust Lawson made short work of that mess on the stove.