About this recipe:For Egypt's vegetarians this highly spiced dish is a protein staple. On their own, lentils do not contain a lot of protein, but combined with the wheat in the pasta, they make a good protein dish that is low in fat.
250 g (9 oz) Puy lentils, rinsed
2½ tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, about 200 g (7 oz), very thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp turmeric
2 cans chopped tomatoes, about 400 g each
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
200 g (7 oz) macaroni
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander or parsley
salt and pepper
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Method Prep:15min › Cook:1hr › Ready in:1hr15min
Put the lentils in a heavy-based saucepan and pour in enough water to cover them by 7.5 cm (3 in). Bring to the boil and boil vigorously for about 10 minutes, skimming the surface as necessary. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30–40 minutes or until tender. Drain well and keep warm.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Add the onion and stir to coat with the oil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft. Stir in 1 tsp sugar, raise the heat and continue cooking, stirring, until the onion becomes dark brown and crisp. Immediately pour onto kitchen paper to drain, and set aside.
Heat 1/2 tbsp of the remaining oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds, stirring. Stir in the turmeric and continue frying for a further 30 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes with their juice and add a pinch of sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10–15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens a little. Season to taste.
Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan. Stir in the cumin, ground coriander and cayenne pepper, and fry for about 30 seconds, stirring. Add the lentils and stir in seasoning to taste. Keep warm over a very low heat.
Cook the macaroni in boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain well.
Spoon the macaroni onto a serving platter, and top with the spiced lentils and the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and top with the crisp onions. Serve at once.
Some more ideas
Use red or green lentils instead of Puy lentils. Cook them according to the instructions on the packet. * Add 1 seeded and thinly sliced red pepper to the lentil mixture, cooking it in the oil until slightly softened before adding the spices and cooked lentils.
Lentils are an excellent source of iron and of dietary fibre, particularly the soluble type. They also provide useful amounts of many B vitamins. * The onion topping is traditionally deep fried, but here it is fried in a small amount of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan to reduce the fat content.
Mm, not bad! I had my doubts about what the point was of the tomato sauce, but it went very nicely with the rest of the meal. I couldn't get the onions to look at crispy as the article picture, and they did burn a little, but were otherwise fine. My minor tweak to this recipe was adding a handful of cashews in with the cumin and coriander - mmm! - 09 Mar 2015