Cremed Lentils (or Lentilles á la créme)



This is an awesome Indian dish with a great story. About 12 years ago, I bought a small pamphlet of a cookbook (softcover, only 64 pages) at 1/2 Price Books. It was an Indian cookbook that I got because I was trying out veganism (for the first time). Half of the book is meat, but the other half is amazing vegetable dishes like Piquant Chickpeas, Pakoras, etc. The hands down best of all the veg dishes that I tried from the book was a dish called, "Creamed Lentils". It calls for creme, which I skip- and it's still amazing. It's a relatively easy dish that has intense, amazing Indian flavors and is great with Naan or Poppadoms, or for a bigger dinner with the Bend it Like Beckham Gobi .

Anyway- I loved the dish and loved the book, but it was lost in a move. We were devastated. I had no idea what the ratios of spices and ingredients were, and since it was just a little wisp of a book, there was little chance of ever being able to find it by title on Amazon, Borders, whatever.

We came to terms with our loss and years later were in Paris. There's a huge bookshop that we had gone to whenever we were able to visit the city, and there it was- right there on the sidewalk sale table for 2 €- "Cuisine Indienne"- the exact same book! In French. So whatever, we bought it and have translated it and... here you are! And you didn't even have to go to France to get it (you're welcome).


1 cup red or yellow lentils
1 teaspoon salt
3 / 4 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 cups water
1 onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 large tomato, very ripe and chopped égrainée
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 tablespoons minced cilantro or mint

1. Cook 20 minutes the lentils in water with salt, turmeric and pepper, until they are tender. drain.
2. Brown the onions. Book 1 tablespoon for garnish. Add garlic and ginger and cook briefly. Add tomatoes, cook until they are soft.
3. Combine lentils with the garam masala and half the chopped herbs. Stir and heat.
4. Pour into a dish, garnish with remaining herbs and garnish with the reserve onion.