When eating vegetarian, we are always trying to incorporated different types of protein into our diet. I am personally a huge fan of the bean: black beans, garbanzo beans, white beans, you name it, I’ll eat it. But experimenting with other types of legumes can be a bit intimidating.
I’ve had these brown lentils in my pantry for a few months. I knew they were good tasting, and good for me, but I had no idea how to prepare them… until I saw this recipe. I used ingredients I had on hand, including a new seasoning mix* I purchased from Penzy Spices, and adapted the recipe to the one you see below.
*Balti seasoning is a fantastic spice mixture I found at Penzeys Spices. Here is their description of the mixture:
“Baltistan is an ancient region of northernmost Pakistan with influences from Persia, Tibet and China. Traditionally a “Balti” would be cooked and served in a karahi (small Indian wok), without utensils, and would be eaten with your fingers using naan to scoop the meal into your mouth. More recently “Balti” has been catching the imagination of people in the way Tandoori cooking swept the world in the 60’s and 70’s. Hand-mixed from: coriander, garlic, ginger, cumin, dundicut chilies, Ceylon cinnamon, brown mustard seeds, cardamom, clove, fennel, fenugreek, charnushka (kalonji, black onion seed), ajwain, star anise, black cardamom, cilantro, anise seed and bay leaf.”
Balti spiced lentils with basil (recipe adapted from Farrell Spence)
4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic clove, diced
2 tsp balti seasoning
1 cup dried brown lentils
1/4 cup fresh basil
salt & pepper to taste
1. Rinse and place the lentils in a medium-size saucepan of lightly salted cold water and bring to a boil. Cook until al dente, 25 minutes from the time you turned the heat on. Important: Set your timer from the time you turned the stove on, not from the boiling point!
While the lentils are boiling:
2. In a small saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium/low heat with the garlic and balti seasoning. As the garlic begins to sizzle and brown remove from the burner and set aside. Chiffon (roll up leaves, then cut on the diagonal) the basil on a cutting board.
3. After 25 minutes, take the lentils off the stove and drain them in a sieve. Toss with the garlic, seasoning and olive oil. Add the fresh cut basil and mix into the lentils while they’re still warm. Arrange on a serving dish drizzling another 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top. Serve at room temperature.