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Lentil Stew with Ginger and Turmeric
In “The Island Kitchen,” author Selina Periampillai includes a recipe for a lentil dish she sampled on the French island of Réunion, located in the Indian Ocean to the west of Madagascar. She describes the fragrant, creamy lentils, made with a local variety, as cooked in a cast-iron pot over a live fire. Inspired by her recipe, this lentil stew borrows her spicing but is chunkier in texture. We also add tomatoes to brighten both the flavor and color, and we garnish with yogurt for a touch of tangy richness. Serve with steamed rice.
cup brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
teaspoon dried thyme
01In a large saucepan, combine the lentils, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and 5½ cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high, then reduce to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils break apart slightly when stirred and have absorbed most of the water, about 30 minutes.
Hi Cynthia -
Since we aren't specifying a type of tomato here and the tomatoes don't really get cooked, we prefer to core the tomatoes. Larger tomatoes, such as beefsteak or heirloom, can often have a hard, fibrous core that would be unpleasant in the dish. Hope that clears it up!
The Milk Street Team
I had a ton of water remaining... I eventually decided to strain out the majority of the water because the lentils were starting to really break down. Traditional ratio is somewhere around 1 cup lentils to 3 cups water. Here it is 1 cup lentils to 5.5 cups water? Are you sure this is correct?
Hi Michael -
The ratio you are referring to (1 c.: 3 c.) is, I think, typically when cooking the lentils *covered.* Our technique calls for cooking the lentils uncovered so a fair amount of evaporation will occur, which accounts for some of the extra liquid. Additionally, this is meant to be a somewhat loose stew. As the lentils cook and break down a bit they will give the stew a thicker, creamier consistency. Hope that helps!
The Milk Street Team
Why core the tomatoes rather than just chopping them up and using all of them?