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An unexpected dish of lentils

A dish of lentils, bacon bits, spinach, yogurt

I’ve never been a big bean fan. I would flick out all the red beans in ice-kachang*. Red bean soup is always served at birthdays or weddings or any celebration. Ewww. Do I really have to eat that? I think the grimace on my face is enough torture to everyone around me that my parents usually say they’ll eat my red bean anything, as soon as the dish arrives.

On one of our earlier dates, way back when we were both living in the States, Ben and I went out for Mexican food. Ben was so enthusiastic that I was about to taste my first Mexican meal ever. He ordered something of everything on the menu. The quesadillas were nice. I like avocados. The margaritas – well, anything alcoholic, and sipping them through straws. The Mexicans know how to party. Then there was the burrito. Hmmm, tastes good. I like the black thing. What’s that? Oh, that’s refried beans.

PAUSE.

What?

I hate beans!

But you just said you liked it. *twinkle in his eye*

Oh, the deception! How could he! Well well well, this is the end. The nerve on this boy!

10 years later, I’m still with Mr Refried Beans. And now, I have to admit: I actually quite like (some) beans. (Still can’t do red bean soup though.)

Here is a bean recipe that is our household favourite. It’s just the way we like it. Sometimes, I add diced sausages instead of bacon. For my vegetarian friends, you can leave out the meat, it tastes just as good.

A dish of Lentils, bacon bits, spinach and yogurt

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of thinly sliced fennel
  • 1/2 cup of bacon slices/ bits
  • 1 cup of lentils de Puy (or green lentils)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 handful of spinach, washed (or 2 cups of packed spinach)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 20cl plain yogurt
  • 2 cups of water
  • salt and pepper
  • Heat up a saucepan. Add oil (hot, not smoking), add the bacon slices and fennel.
    Cook and stir for 3 minutes, until bacon bits brown and fennel is translucent.
    Add the water.
    Add the lentils de Puy.
    Bring to boil. Lower to a simmer and cover the saucepan. Cook for 30 minutes until lentils are cooked.

    While lentils are cooking, the yogurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl.
    Stir to mix and set aside.

    Once the lentils are cooked, drain the water, leaving about 1 cm of water in the saucepan.
    Return the saucepan to the stove, on gentle heat.
    Put the spinach into the saucepan. Stir until just wilted and cooked.
    To serve, place half the yogurt on the plate. Place the lentils on top and dribble the rest of the yogurt mixture on the lentils.

    * Ice kachang means “red bean ice” and is a popular Singaporean dessert of shaved ice and red beans. We can find ice kachang in many hawker centres, food courts and they’re served with palm seeds, corn, agar agar, corn syrup and always with those lovely red beans.


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