This recipe is actually the very first thing I learnt to cook as a child…for two reasons, firstly, I’ve always loved red lentils and , secondly, they are super easy to cook with very few ingredients.
I remember cooking them for the first time when I was around 9 years old and my mother had to stay in bed for some ailment for many weeks. We had hired a boy to cook for us but I didn’t like the way he cooked the lentils…his were just never the right creamy consistency that I liked. So I decided to take things in my own hands and started cooking the lentils…also I wanted to surprise my mother with the amazing end product so didn’t ask her the recipe !
The lentils got cooked but I didn’t know how to make them creamy…they were just some mushy lentils separate from the water content in the pot. Then this idea came to my mind, I took the hand whisk and started whisking them vehemently. The helper boy laughed his head off at what I was doing but I was quite happy and proud of the soupy, runny thing I had cooked. Very soon, with more adventures in the kitchen, I figured out how to cook a delicious, creamy red lentils meal…here I’m sharing my little secret with you !
Let the water dry out, once the lentils are cooked. Then mash the lentils and add more water slowly to your desired consistency.
For Creamy Red Lentils :
2 cups red lentils
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
4-5 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
4 tablespoons olive oil
This Is What You Do :
Add enough water to a deep pan to immerse the lentils, 4-5 cups. Add salt, red chilli powder, turmeric and 3 crushed garlic cloves to lentils. Cook uncovered on medium low heat till lentils are very tender and water almost dried out. This process won’t take a long time, barely 15 minutes, as red lentils are the quickest to cook. This is the best time to cream the lentils…when you are following a recipe to cream the ingredience means to blend them together so they are one. Just give them a good mash up with a ladle or wooden spoon ( this will be easier to do if there is no water in the lentils). After mashing them add another 2 cups water to thin out the consistency. Cook another 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile in a sauce pan heat oil, add 2 thinly sliced cloves garlic. Crush the cumin seeds slightly by rubbing them between your palms to bring out more aroma. When Te garlic turns light golden add cumin seeds to the oil. Stir fry a few seconds. Pour this infused oil ( tarka) over lentils and squeeze a little lemon juice right before serving. Tastes great with steamed rice, roti or just as a soup.
4 -5 servings