Saturday, 27 April 2013

Pans Filled with Gold

Lenticchie Gialle con Funghi & Pomodori Ciliegini 
Mushrooms with Yellow Lentils & Cherry Tomatoes

This isn't a post about the days of the gold rush, with hard working men toiling with pans in rivers and streams, sifting through them in their search for gold... No, in my case, I put the gold, in the form of these wonderful Mung Dal lentils and juicy mushrooms, into my frying pan myself! The result was a wonderful Vegetarian dish, full of flavor and texture and goodness and a richness all of it's own!

I love Mung Dal- this fine-grained, fast-cooking variety of lentils is so convenient and versatile with it's nutty flavor and short 5-6 minute cooking time. I decided to use it this evening as an alternative to rice, pasta or potatoes, to turn the fried mushrooms I made in my brand-new handmade pan into a fully-fledged meal and what a great combination it turned out to be! With a handful of cherry tomatoes to add a little juicy contrast, this was a quick and easy supper fit for a king!

I started off by boiling the lentils for 3-4 minutes in a small saucepan, using 4 cups of water to the 2 cups of lentils and then letting them sit and finish off cooking in the residual heat with the lid on top. I find this to be the best way to prepare them- the less you stir them the better, as they cook so quickly that you will otherwise end up turning them into a paste through too much stirring.

In the meantime, I heated a little butter up in my pan and whilst that was happening, quickly rinsed off the mushrooms, being careful to not get them excessively damp and waterlogged. I then added them to the frying pan and sautéed them for 2-3 minutes, then added some finely chopped garlic and Spring onion, salt, pepper and a little ground cumin. Once the mushrooms were nicely golden, I added the lentils into the pan along with a good handful of finely chopped parsley- and already this beautiful dish began to come together before my very eyes!

The last ingredient to be added was a handful of cherry tomatoes, which I cut in half, a tiny hint of lemon juice and a final pat of butter- simple! But the thing is, with nice ingredients that compliment each other in flavor, all you need are simple things to make a great meal! I love the nutty flavor and the chewy texture of the lentils in combination with the succulent mushrooms- together with the fresh herb and garlic flavor and the juicy tomatoes this really was second to none! Give it a try and see for yourselves... and above all, enjoy!

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