Serving
(click to enlarge)

Red Lentils with Amaranth
Sri Lanka

Serves:
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
6 side  
***
1-1/4 hr  
Yes

Talk about a blend of interesting flavors - this has got it. It'll mystify your snotty gourmet friends, and, it's delicious! You can make it totally vegetarian without much damage by omitting the fish. As a side dish it is suitable for both Asian and Western menus.




6
1-1/2
14 oz
1
2
1/4
1
------
5
1-1/2
6
14
1
1
------
2/3
oz
c
can
c

oz
t
---
oz
in

in

T
---
t
Amaranth Greens (1)  
Red Lentils
Coconut Milk
Water
Chili, dry (2)
Maldive Fish (3)
Turmeric
-- Finish mix
Onion
Cinnamon stick
Curry Leaves (4)
Pandan Leaf (5)
Lemon Grass (6)
Oil (7)
---------
Salt
PREP   -   (15 min)
  1. Wash AMARANTH. Pick off leaves and tender tips, discarding stems, including leaf stems. You should end up with at least 2 ounces. Place in a saucepan.
  2. Pick over Red Lentils as needed, wash in several changes of water and add to the Amaranth.
  3. Open can of COCONUT MILK without shaking it. Spoon out 3 T of the coconut cream on the top and reserve. Pour the rest and 1 cup Water in with the Lentils.
  4. Break open CHILIS and pour out the seeds. Break up the shells and add to the Lentils.
  5. Run the MALDIVE FISH in your spice grinder or pound to a powder in a mortar (1/4 ounce is about 2 t). Add along with Turmeric to the Lentils.
  6. Peel Onion, cut in quarters lengthwise, then slice crosswise very thin. Peel off outer leaves of Lemon Grass and cut off the tough root end. Whack the lowest 4 inches good with your kitchen mallet and cut off the leaf end high enough to keep the whacked part from falling apart. Mix together All Finish Items.
RUN &nbps; -   (1 hr)
  1. Bring Lentils to a boil and simmer until done. Stir frequently and add Water as needed. In Sri Lanka "done" is a thick soup consistency, but I like my lentils a little more identifiable so I simmer 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile:   In a skillet heat Oil and fry Finish mix over very moderate heat, stirring until onions are very lightly colored.
  3. When Lentils are done, stir Finish mix and Coconut Cream in with them. Salt to taste and simmer another 10 minutes, uncovered.
  4. Fish out the Pandanus and Curry leaves, lemon grass and cinnamon (chopsticks work well for this). Serve hot.
NOTES:
  1. Amaranth:   These greens are available in markets serving Southeast Asian communities. For details see our Amaranth page.
  2. Chili:   Dry red Thai chilis or Arbols will work fine, or for less heat use Japones. For details see our Chili Page.
  3. Maldive Fish:   Smoked, fermented and dried fish broken up into pieces with the appearance and hardness of old wood splinters. If you don't have it, use Japanese Bonito Flakes - same fish processed the same way just cut differently. For details see our Seafood Products page.
  4. Curry Leaves   These fresh leaves are necessary for the true flavor of southern India, and are now reasonably available in Indian markets, at least here in California. Dried ones aren't of much use. If you don't have them you will have to leave them out - there is no acceptable substitute. Use caution with how many you use, because some people don't like the resinous taste. For details see our Curry Leaves page.
  5. Pandanas Leaves   These leaves can be found in the frozen food sections of markets serving Southeast Asian communities, and sometimes fresh here in Southern California. For details see our Pandanus - Screw Pine page.
  6. Lemon Grass   Stalks of fresh lemon grass are now available in North America in markets serving a Southeast Asian community. For details see our Lemon Grass page.
  7. Oil   The appropriate oil is Coconut Oil, but Pure Olive Oil (not virgin) or similar can be used.
  8. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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