Lentils for breakfast- welcome

Here is your invitation to sample beautiful recipes that are good for you, good for the planet and good to eat. They mainly feature plants, because that's what I try to eat the most. I am not a fancy cook, but I believe that food is one of our greatest pleasures and deserves to be celebrated. Real food, whole food, kind food. Welcome to the feast!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Lentils with sweet potato and peas

When I decided to try breakfast a la slow carb, I turned to my favourite cookbook, Wholefood. Its author, Jude Blereu, is happily a friend of mine, and I knew she wouldn't let me down. The basic recipe below is the one I have used the most to date.

The mighty Tim Ferriss' most frequent breakfast 'consists of eggs, lentils and spinach'. He has his lentils straight out of the can with the addition of a pre-boiled egg, which suggests to me a cold bold egg. Lentils out of the can and a cold boiled egg. Spartan. So, I started making my lentils from Jude's dal recipe with organic lentils and Herbie's Panch Phora Indian spice blend and my favourite vegetables (which is why sweet potato is almost always included, and cavalo nero when I can find it). I cook up a batch on Sunday afternoon and heat up 4 generous tablespoons each morning, served with a nice hot boiled egg. Maybe a dollop of yoghurt as well.

Here's the recipe.

200 g lentils - I've used every colour, dried and canned, including split peas and various dals from the Indian shop in Neutral Bay
olive oil - I've used coconut oil and unrefined sesame oil, haven't tried ghee yet
1/2 onion - or a couple of shallots if you don't want half a leftover onion in the fridge
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
Indian spices - Jude uses yellow and red mustard seeds, cardamom pods, garam masala, turmeric, cumin and coriander, but I get out my packet of panch phora and add whatever else I fancy
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 fresh red chilli
1 tablespoon apple juice concentrate - Jude adds this to offset the astringency of the lentils, but I don't have any so add sweet chilli sauce and mirin instead
2-3 teaspoons tamari

Rinse lentils. Place in saucepan with 2.5 cups of water and cook over low heat for 15 to 20 mins. Or open a can.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan. Add onion, garlic, ginger and spices. Cook gently for a few seconds until fragrant (watch out, spices absorb the oil quickly and start burning). Pour cooked lentils into frying pan so every bit of flavour is captured. Then pour the lot back into the saucepan (a palaver, admittedly). Add coriander, chilli, sweet chilli sauce and tamari. Add half a cup of water (or vegetable stock if I have some) if it is too thick. Continue to cook on gentle heat for 15 mins, stirring frequently as it thickens as it cooks.

I roast the sweet potato and add it once the lentils are ready. Similarly, I steam the cavalo nero or spinach, because they go a bit grey otherwise. I usually add peas when I'm heating up my breakfast serve.

Delicious! Lentils for breakfast is slow carb, full of fibre and vegetables and tasty, which is the most important bit. Is all this effort on a Sunday afternoon making any difference to my persistent little depot of adipose tissue in my abdomen (aka my soft tummy)? Hmmm. To be continued.

Any favourite lentil recipes you're dying to share? Don't hold back.

Yum - and more spicy than muesli