August 18, 2014

spiced okra and lentils

 I paired my favorite okra recipe with my favorite lentil recipe and so it just doesn't get any better.  No... really... it doesn't!  This was the recipe that I used the first time I made lentils and fell in love.  I had always seen them sitting next to the beans, but for some reason hesitated to take the leap and try them.  There's no going back now!!!

Servings 4-6
Total Time 1 hour


for the okra
  • 2 pounds of okra
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt (or kosher)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

for the lentils 
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup yellow split peas (or green)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves, from one small bunch
  • 4-6 large eggs   


for the lentils

Rinse the lentils and split peas thoroughly under running water. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the garlic and onion are golden and fragrant.

Add the lentils and split peas and stir in the garam masala. Stir the pot thoroughly to make sure the garam masala and onions are full distributed in the lentils. 

Add the broth (or 4 cups of water) and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes or until the yellow split peas are just tender. (The red lentils are smaller and will cook faster; the yellow lentils will stay distinct and al dente while the red lentils will cook down into a pleasantly rustic mush.) Season with salt (roughly 1/2 teaspoon... if you used water you may need more vs using 100% broth you may need less) and pepper to taste and stir in the cilantro.  (while the lentils are cooking, prep the okra if you haven't already- okra step 1)

At this point the lentils can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen in portions for up to 3 months (thaw in the fridge overnight before using). 

To serve: Heat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease individual ramekins or small ovenproof baking dishes/bowls . Mound about 1 cup lentils in each then make a deep hollow in the center and crack in an egg. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the egg. 

Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, or until white is set and yolk is cooked to your liking. (while the lentils are baking, begin to cook the okra- step 2)

for the spiced okra

(1) Cut the knobby end of the okra off and slit them lengthwise, taking care not to slit them all the way through. 

(2) Heat the cast iron skillet on medium heat until hot. Slide in the okra and keep stirring, taking care not to break them. About 5-10 minutes, till they begin to discolor. When they have changed color and appear slightly limp add the oil (stand clear if it splutters). Stir for about 30 seconds to mix through with the oil. 

Add the coriander, red chili and turmeric powders. Stir to mix through for about 15 seconds.

Let the okra cook untouched for the next 10 minutes on medium-low, stirring once in between.  If at any time they begin to burn reduce your heat to low.  Cook them until you are happy with their level of crunch.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.


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