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Red Lentils and Cabbage

March 18, 2009

This is the last of the Indian recipes for a while, I think.  I’ve been eating the stuff 24/7 for the last two weeks because the recipes make a lot of food and I haven’t had that much help in the leftover department.  Luckily, the dishes get better with age, as I’ve said before.  This final recipe for you is practically a soup because the lentils cook down until they are completely dissolved, much like a pea soup.  Despite the few spices, it’s really flavorful.  Serve this with a spoonful of rice, or scoop it up with some naan or paratha.  This recipe comes from  Madhur Jaffrey via Smitten Kitchen and makes 6 servings.


1 1/4 c red lentils, picked over and rinsed

5 c water

1/2 t ground turmeric

2-3 T vegetable oil

1 t cumin seeds

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1/2 lb (about 2 cups) thinly sliced green cabbage

1-2 Seranno peppers, thinly sliced (I kept the seeds in for moderate heat)

1 t salt, plus more to taste

1 plum tomato, finely chopped

1/2 t grated fresh ginger


Combine lentils and water in a heavy large saucepan or Dutch oven with a lid and bring to a boil over high heat.  When it’s boiling, skim off any foam at the top, discard foam, and stir in turmeric.  Turn heat down to low, place lid on pot slightly ajar and simmer for 1 1/4 hours.  Stir a few times in the last 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and cook for a few seconds.  Then, add the garlic.  When the garlic begins to brown, add the onion, cabbage and green chilies.  Fry the vegetables for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown and turn crisp.  Turn off heat and stir in 1/4 t of salt and set mixture aside.

When the lentils have cooked for 1 1/4 hours, add the tomato, ginger and remaining 3/4 t of salt, plus more to taste, if needed.  Cook for 10 more minutes.  Add the cabbage mixture and any accumulated oil in the pan to the lentils and cook for 2-3 more minutes, until heated through.   The mixture should be the consistency of a thick pea soup and can be scooped up with bread or a spoon.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. hurstbeans permalink
    March 19, 2009 12:51 pm

    This looks like a great recipe, I’ll have to try it next time I make red lentils… I usually use this recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Red Lentil soup.


    • juicybits permalink*
      March 19, 2009 12:53 pm

      That looks delicious! I’ll have to try that one. Thank you for the comment!

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