Red Lentils Tarka with Raisin Chutney

A warming and soothing vegetarian dish of red lentils seasoned with cumin, asafoetida, garlic and curry leaves, served with lacto-fermented raisin chutney and toasted flatbread..

Red Lentils Tarka with Raisin Chutney

For the Chutney (adapted from a recipe by Sally Fallon)

1 1/2 cups organic raisins, soaked in warm filtered water for 1 hour
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
10 black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/2 tablespoon anise seeds
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons whey
1/2 cup filtered water

Place garlic and cilantro in food processor and pulse a few times.  Drain raisins and add to food processor along with peppercorns, red pepper flakes, seeds and ginger.  Pulse a few times until the mixture becomes a coarse paste.  Transfer to a pint-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down lightly with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer.  Mix salt and whey with water and pour into jar.  You may need to poke a few holes in the chutney to allow liquid to percolate through.  Add more water if necessary to cover the chutney.  The top of the chutney should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 2 days before transferring to refrigerator.  The chutney should be eaten with 2 months.

For the Lentils

1 cup split red lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
3 cups vegetable stock or filtered water
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black Tellicherry peppercorns
1 bay leaf

Combine lentils and stock in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Add turmeric, pepper and bay.  Cover and simmer until thick and tender, about 40 minutes.

For the Tarka (adapted from a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey)

2 tablespoons ghee
1/3 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon curry leaves, chopped
1-2 small fresh red chillies, chopped
1 clove garlic, coarsely minced
1/2 small onion, diced
1 plum tomato, chopped

Heat ghee in a heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the asafoetida and let it sizzle for 30 seconds.  Add the cumin and chilies and cook until the chillies begin to get crisp, about 1 minute.  Add onions and cook until browned.  Add tomato and garlic and cook until garlic is browned.  Stir the tarka (including all of the liquid) into the lentils, cover and let stand 5 minutes to combine the flavors.

Serve hot with raisin chutney and toasted flatbread.

This post is in support of Meatless Monday, whose goal it is to goal is to help reduce
meat consumption by 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.

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