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.
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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
How to Make It
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.
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.
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