This recipe is not basic because it is easy, or quick.
It’s basic because you can pair it with almost anything – and when I say almost anything, I mean that I eat it with rice, pasta, and even pancakes. Simply by playing with some spices you can turn this dish closer to Italian or Ethiopian cuisine. In addition, you can easily batch-cook it and just freeze it! This is what makes that recipe incredible and basic. Let’s not wait anymore, here are the ingredients for one portion:
- About 25-30 grams of dried lentils (any colour you like/find)
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 big onion (if you have small onions, add 2)
- Garlic to your liking (we are garlic girls here and add about 5 cloves, but it’s up to you)
- Two of the following veggies depending on your taste: carrots, eggplants, bell pepper, zucchini
You can, of course, add more than two. The only issue being that your pot must be big enough for everything to fit.
- Seasoning, depending on which kind of taste you are looking for
For the quantities, just taste and adjust.
- If you want a more Italian taste: oregano, basil, thyme
- If you want a more Ethiopian/Eritrean taste: cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon
Now that you have your ingredients, let’s build the stew step-by-step.
- Start by dicing your onion(s).
Tips so you don’t cry: Wet your knife before starting and wet it again during the process. If you are very sensitive to onions, you might still cry, but it will be less painful than with a dry knife!
- Then, sauté it in a pot with hot oil.
- While the onion is cooking, peel and dice your garlic.
Tips to peel your garlic: Crush it with the side of your knife and the skin will come off easily (but don’t cut yourself in the process). You can also put the cloves in a jar and shake it until the skin falls off.
- Once the garlic is cut, add it to the pot.
- Dice all your veggies and add them to the pot.
- Directly add some water so it doesn’t burn. Add salt and seasoning to your liking.
- Rinse your lentils.
How to rinse lentils? It’s easy – but time consuming! Put your lentils in a bowl. Cover them with water. Put your hand in the bowl and turn the lentils. Empty the water. And repeat the process until the water is clear.
- Add the lentils to the sauce.
- Let it simmer on low heat, adding water when it becomes too dry.
A time consuming process: the longer it simmers, the better it will be. You can just cover your stew and let it cook, but don’t forget to go check if it has enough water every 15-20 minutes so it doesn’t burn.
Once everything is cooked and flavourful, you can turn off the stove and pair that delicious stew with some carbs: the Italian-inspired version goes perfectly with some pasta or as a Bolognese in lasagna; the Ethiopian-inspired version is incredible with rice; and both pair marvellously with pancakes or crepes.
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