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African Spiced Lentil Dip

Lentils are common in African cuisine, especially in countries on the Indian-influenced eastern coast, such as Tanzania and Kenya. Chef Marcus Samuelsson transforms brown lentils into a lemony puree flavored with a spiced butter of coriander, cumin and nutmeg.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 12

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  • 2 cups brown lentils
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 quart water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Toasted pita triangles, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, cover the lentils, carrot and onion with the water and bring to a boil. Simmer until the lentils are tender and almost all the liquid has evaporated, 35 minutes. In a food processor, puree the lentils and vegetables.
  2. In the same saucepan, melt the butter. Add the cumin, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cayenne and cook over low heat, stirring a few times, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the lentil puree and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper and stir in the lemon juice. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature with the pita toasts.
Contributed By Published November 2006

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