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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Culture Clash Lentil Salad

The urge for dal has been flaring.. and although the weather isn't great, my apartment retains heat like no other, and all I want to do is eat refreshing meals.  Since testing the beluga black lentils as a salad, I'm hooked on cold lentils.  I may as well try out all the different combinations possible, since of all the things I may be out of, lentils are plentiful.  Have I ever mentioned that I have an entire cupboard dedicated to my bean and lentil stash?  I must have at least 10 different types, plus the chickpea flour. A nuclear bomb could hit and I'd have enough to keep me alive for probably about a year.
Oh dear, as that phrase came out, a flash of my mother's "bomb shelter" cupboard comes to mind.  My brother and I always used to make fun of her for that.  I suppose there are certain things in life you cannot control.
So my urge flared, I picked masoor dal, which is the whole version of coral lentils.  When you're going for the salad, make sure you pick a lentil that won't explode once its cooked.  It will be more enjoyable "en bouche."  Then I kind of went insane.  I started to go French with shallots and mustard, then I want American with the cranberries, then I went Indian with the garam masala, and topped it off with something Greek-ish Italian with the capers and feta, and then the Thai chile joined the party.  It was a whole mess in my head while this was coming together, but as I somewhat expected, the flavors go perfectly well together.
Serves 3 as a meal
3/4 cup lentils, rinsed
1 chopped tomato
1/4 red cabbage, shredded
1/4 cucumber, chopped
1 shallot, minced
Juice from 1/4 lime
Juice from 1/4 orange
3 Tbsp capers
3 Tbsp dried cranberries
Lots of cracked black pepper
1 Tbsp strong mustard
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 hard boiled or steamed eggs, peeled
Handful crumbled feta
1 Thai chile per person who wants one
Pinch fleur de sel
1.  Cook them lentils in 3 cups water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until they are tender, but not complete mush!  You are not making a puree are making a salad.  Respect the product, please!
2.  While that is happening, toss together everything but the eggs.
3.  When the lentils are ready, drain and rinse them under cold water so they cool, then toss them with the other tossed ingredients.
4.  Serve with one egg per person, halved though because it is much more appetizing that way.

It may seem that there is so much going on that you can't pick out the individual ingredients, but you really can.  In each bite you have an explosion of several things that take turns going off.  It's not a synchronized H-bomb.  It's several little firecrackers following the music...
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