I mentioned in an earlier post (http://www.shrinkingsingle.com/favourite-things-in-recipes/) that my favourite recipes are not just recipes for delicious food but also share a story or a fleeting insight in to the cooking lives of other people. I think most of us have a hint of voyeur in us and recipes and especially those on food blogs allow us little sneak peeks in to the lives of others.
This post by a couple cooks shares a recipe and a bit of a back story from Diborah, a refugee from Ethiopia, living in the US. We gain so much from welcoming refugees in to our country and food is just one of those benefits. Sure our country hopefully provides a safe environment for refugees to live in but I often think that is small compared to what we gain.
The post is here:
To make this for one I used the following ingredients :
- 1/3 cup of uncooked rice
- ¼ red onion
- ½ tsp of minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1/2 tbs of olive oil
- 1 tsp of paprika
- ¼ tsp of turmeric
- A pinch of nutmeg
- A pinch of cinnamon
- 100gm of diced canned tomato
- 1/3 cup of red lentils
- A cup of water
- ¼ tsp of sea salt (kosher salt)
- A pinch of black pepper
- A couple of pinches of cayenne pepper (but I should have used more)
There are approximately 550 calories in a serve so not mega low calorie but you could skip the rice if you were really trying to get a low calorie meal. The lentils are fairly filling.
The preparation time was about 5-10 minutes depending on how much dicing and mincing of garlic and ginger you do. Whilst fresh is best, I mainly use minced garlic and ginger from jars as it doesn’t go off so quickly. They are still pretty good if you get the right brand. I have tried and tested a few and have found that for garlic, the secret seems to be to go for garlic that looks like little garlic pieces rather than a puree, that is it still looks like garlic. Not really a surprise that the one that looks like garlic most tastes like garlic.
Cooking time was longer than suggested in the recipe. Mine took about 45 minutes and even then I wasn’t convinced my lentils were really pureed. I initially put in just under a cup of water but added a bit more whilst the lentils cooked. If I had had the photo from a couple cooks in front of me when I was cooking then I would have noticed that theirs isn’t exactly pureed either and still has some shape to the lentils so maybe you could cook for less time than I did. I had the lentils cooking away for about 30-35 minutes.
I didn’t love this dish but I was not very on the ball when I cooked it so don’t let me put you off trying it. I wish I had re-read the commentary on the recipe when I was cooking as I didn’t add enough cayenne pepper and it was a little bit bland for my tastes. Next time I would try spicing it up a bit more either by adding more cayenne pepper or perhaps adding some dried chilli flakes at the same time as the turmeric.
I thought I had cardamom in the pantry but could not find it when I started cooking. After a quick google I went with the nutmeg and cinnamon substitute. I also got myself confused as to whether I was cooking a 1/6th or a quarter of the recipe so didn’t use the ingredients in the proportions in the recipe. It could also of course be that this is one of those dishes where modifying to one just isn’t quite right. I wonder if it would be better with the traditional Ethiopian bread – Injera.
We have some good Ethiopian restaurants here in Canberra and the meals are eaten with this wonderful spongy bread that soaks up all manner of juices and flavours. But having looked at recipes for Injera, there is a two day standing time which is just a bit past my planning levels when it comes to cooking.
One thing I struggled with was getting the timing right on the recipe so the lentils and rice were ready at the same time. You would think by now that I would know my stove but it always seems to be temperamental in how quickly it gets water to boiling point. I boil my rice mainly because my rice cooker doesn’t like too small an amount of rice and I prefer boiled rice to food poisoning from eating rice I have kept in the fridge too long so don’t cook more than I need.
Now if only I could make my photo of red lentils look as glamorous as a couple cooks. I am not a great photographer but food like lentils is even more challenging than most.