Puy Lentil, Red Onion and Yoghurt Salad

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4–6

    as a starter

Appears in

This is a lovely first course because it is dense, small and complex in favour. Serve it with warm fatbread. Sumac is a red berry from the Middle East. It is usually sold in its ground form and has a pleasant astringent taste. If you can’t find it, don’t worry, as the dish will still taste great without it.

Ingredients

  • 1 large red onion, peeled
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz) olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated or chopped
  • 100 g (3 ½ oz) puy or green lentils, rinsed under cold water and drained
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses or tamarind paste
  • 100 ml (3 ½ fl oz) thick yoghurt
  • 1 large teaspoon sumac (optional)

Method

Finely dice half the onion and fry in half the oil until it begins to caramelise. Add garlic and ginger and cook a little more, stirring well. Add lentils, soy sauce and enough water to cover by 1 cm (½ in). Bring to the boil and put a lid on. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, then check to see how they’re doing.

If lentils are still chewy and there’s no water in the saucepan, add a little extra hot water and cook until al dente. Remove lid and simmer until liquid has almost evaporated. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool.

Heat remaining oil in a small frying pan and add the other half of the onion, finely sliced. Cook over a moderate heat until caramelised. Add vinegar and cook to evaporate it, then add pomegranate molasses and bring to the boil. Tip into another bowl to cool.

To serve, spoon a small mound of lentils onto a plate, dollop on some yoghurt and sprinkle over a little sumac, then finish with a small pile of onions.