This recipe comes from the Indian Parsi cuisine. The Parsis are a small community of Zoroastrians (this is the religion of the Magi astrologers who followed the star to the Messiah!). They went to India centuries ago from Persia at the rise of Islam in their homeland.
225g red lentils
4 cloves of garlic
2.5 cm piece of fresh ginger
1 dried red chili, deseeded
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp tamarind
1 tbsp rapadura sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp fresh coriander
1. Place lentils in pan and bring to the boil. Remove froth that rises. Add tumeric and salt and simmer for about 10 minutes
2. While they are cooking, grind garlic, ginger, chilli and cumin seeds with mortar and pestle.
3. Heat oil in small pan and add ground spices. Fry, stirring for 1 minute, adding a tablespoon of water if it starts to stick.
4. Add spice paste to the pot with the lentils along with the tamarind and sugar. Stir well and simmer for a further minute and then serve hot sprinkled with fresh coriander. Eat with rice.
This recipe has been adapted from "Quick and Easy Vegetarian Recipes from Around the World for Western Kitchens", by Troth Wells for New Internationalist.
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