claudia roden's red lentil purée

In my quest to find both interesting ways to use lentils and pulses as well as alternatives to the usual accompaniments to roast meat, I found this Claudia Roden recipe for an Egyptian-inspired purée recipe in her New Book of Middle Eastern food. It was perfect with slow roasted lamb shoulder with middle eastern spices.

It may seem like a lot of purée to make and it was. But I had a cunning plan . . . the leftovers were made into falafels, a recipe for which will follow shortly!

Serves 4
Skill level: Easy

2 tbsp olive oil
1 x Spanish onion, finely chopped
3 x garlic cloves, very finely chopped
500g red lentils
1½ tsp ground coriander
1½ tsp ground cumin
a pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper

ground paprika, to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Gently fry the onions with a pinch of salt until softened - about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to fry until the onions have coloured a little.
  2. Add the lentils and enough water to just cover. Then add the spices, stir well and cover. Bring to the boil, add a little salt and pepper and then simmer until the lentils are beginning to disintegrate. This should take about 20 minutes. Add more water if it looks as if the lentils are drying out. The lentils should break down enough so that you won't need to actually purée them.
  3. Before serving, sprinkle over a little ground paprika.

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