Posted by: Joan Spiller | February 23, 2012

Peace, love and .. Lentils!

Lentils are one of those things I am unsure I quite *get*. I loathe dahl, never had one I like yet. Sure I can add a few red ones to a soup but kinda wonder why I would? And the brown ones, well they’re plain nasty, right?

But as a kid we used to eat them all the time, cos they were deemed good for us.. And so over years of trialling different ways to cook these lil rabbit-dropping-like goodies, I found a way to actually make them taste very nice.

And meat-eater pals tell me they taste like savoury mince done this way .. never having eaten meat – I’ll leave that to you to decide!

Joan’s savoury brown lentil recipe

2c brown lentils soaked in cold water for 24 hours. (More on the prep side during the method)
1L stock – I use vegetable but any will do (or you could use water with a bay leaf and an onion in it, that’s how I did it back in the olden days!)
1 carrot – diced into “pea” sized pieces
2/3c frozen peas
2 onions- diced
Oil for frying
1tsp curry pdr (I use vencat which is commonly available – remember this recipe is from the 80’s!)
1tsp salt
Black pepper to taste (quite a bit, I’d suggest)
4T Worcester Sauce or 1/2c red wine
2T Tomato Paste

Run the dry lentils under water and pick over looking for stones – trust me, they’re in there! Soak overnight in a large pan of cold water. Drain and rinse well just to be safe. My father broke a tooth on lentils once .. hence the paranoia!

You could use canned ones but they’re horribly expensive compared to dry .. so why bother?

Put the soaked lentils into the stock and bring to a simmer, cooking til tender. You may need to add more liquid, but water would do fine. This doesn’t take long, so be careful they don’t go to mush.

In a large pan, soften down the onion in a little rice bran oil. Add the curry powder, the sauce ingredients incl the wine and then the cooked lentils. Season well and cook til the mixture thickens to a “stew like” consistency. This bit can take awhile.

Add the veges in the final few minutes of cooking and you’re done!

THAT said, this mixture tastes better if made the day before and left to “sit”, I used to chuck it all in the crockpot for a day of simmering ..

PS it makes the most heavenly pies! Wrap in flaky pastry and bake til golden. Serve with creamy mustard laden mashed potatoes, buttery carrots and peppery cabbage!  Yum..

You can add shredded cabbage to the stew mix, or any vege really but again: this was the 80s and peas & carrots were de rigour in our household 😉

PPS nowadays I’d probably add goodies such as minced root ginger, turmeric, mustard seeds, cumin, fenugreek, chilli – but yeah refer earlier 80’s comments and just nod ..

I guess the deal is, add what you like but this way will make them quite delicious even without all the other gorgeous spices available to us now..



  1. […] Savoury (ready to scoff) lentils (x4) […]


  2. I love lentils and this sounds delicious. I also like this soup made with green lentils if you’re looking for another preparation to love:


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