Legume Recipes: Lentils and Beans


An Egyptian version of Indian "khedgeree", a rice-and-lentils dish with many variations. This one was donated by Carolyn Yoder to the More with Less Cookbook, and makes a great simple meal for company (it will look great on your table). Serves 6.

I. Sauce

3 c. tomato sauce or puree, or 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste thinned w/water to make 3 c.
1 bell pepper, chopped (we substitute hot chilis for Bill)
handful chopped celery leaves or fresh cilantro, optional
1 T sugar
1 t. cumin
1/4 - 1 t. cayenne or crushed red pepper
, to taste
Combine w/up to 1/2 t. salt and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, start the pilaf:

II. Rice and Lentils

1 1/4 c. brown lentils
Brown 5 min. in 2 T oil over med. heat, stirring constantly. Pour in 3 c. boiling water or stock w/dash ea. salt and pepper, and cook uncovered 10 minutes.

1 1/2 c. rice (preferably jasmine or Basmati rice)
Pour into lentils w/1 c. boiling water or stock, and return to boil; reduce heat to minimum, cover and let simmer 25 minutes.

III. Garnish

3 onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Brown in 2 T (olive) oil.

IV. To Serve

Transfer rice and lentils to large platter. Make a dent in the center and pour the sauce over the top (not going all the way out to the edges if you can help it). Scatter the onions and garlic over the top. Serve w/a dish of plain yogurt to be passed at the table, and a nice green salad and crusty bread.

Bhoonee Khedgeree

An Indian variation on the lentils-and-rice concept, from my Harvey Day paperback. This makes an excellent accompaniment to a hotter meat-based curry.

6 onions, sliced
Fry in 1/4-1/2 c. (mustard) oil or (clarified) butter 'til golden; remove and set aside for garnish later.

1 1/2 c. rice, preferably jasmine or Basmati
3/4 c. lentils (try the little white Indian "urad" dal, or the little red ones)
Fry in vacated onion pan 'til oil completely absorbed and rice grains starting to turn golden.

1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
4 (1-inch) sticks cinnamon
4 bay leaves
12 peppercorns
6 whole cloves
seeds of 2 cardamom pods

Mix in w/salt to taste and add water to barely cover. Cover pan and simmer gently without stirring 'til all liquid absorbed (about 20-25 minutes), gently shaking the pan from time to time to prevent sticking. When all water absorbed and rice and lentils cooked, transfer to warm platter and serve strewn with the onions you set aside earlier.

Indian-spiced Green Pea Soup

From southern Africa via the Africa News Cookbook and my own experiments. The spices are wonderful--one of our major favorites. And remember, curry spices are even better the next day, after the flavors have blended some more. If you're making this for company, you'll want to fix it a day ahead in order to produce the full, heavenly effect. Serves 8.

2 onions, chopped
Fry 'til light brown in lg. soup pot in 2 T oil or ghee (clarified butter).

1 lb. soup bones, optional
2-4 hot chiles, crushed
1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, slivered (or use 1 t. ground ginger)
2-4 cloves garlic, minced (or use 1 t. garlic powder)
1 1/2 to 2 T gd. coriander
2 t. or up to 2 T gd. cumin
2 t. turmeric
1 t. cayenne
2 sticks cinnamon
seeds from 4 pods cardamom
6-10 black peppercorns
6-8 whole cloves
(the spice, not garlic)
Add w/up to 1 T salt, mixing well to blend spices thoroughly w/onions and oil.

2 c. dried green split peas
4 tomatoes
, chopped (or pureed, for Bill)
Add and cook 5 minutes over med. heat. Bring 8-12 c. water to boil and pour in; cover and simmer 'til peas tender (45 min.-1 hr.). Remove from heat; fish out the soup bones if you used them, and also the cloves and peppercorns (unless you like the zing of munching peppercorns--or the numbnes of munching cloves, a natural anesthetic).

2 t. garam masala (Indian spice blend, avail. in specialty shops and well-stocked grocery stores)
Stir in (you're "adjusting the seasonings" here the way a Euro-American cook might add salt and pepper); transfer to serving dish and garnish w/2 chopped green onions if desired. Serve w/rice and plain yogurt and a salad if you like, adding chutneys and chapatis if you want to get fancy. This also makes a great side dish if you're planning something meaty for the "main course".

Cameroonian Beans and Corn Pottage

A recipe from Auntie Kate's Cookery Book, a Cameroonian publication for their home economics programs, which we found in the Indiana University library. Auntie Kate says this is also called "Corn Chaff", and is often served in boarding schools. That doesn't mean it isn't good, though!

1 1/2 c. black-eyed peas, soaked overnight in 3 c. water
1 1/2 c. corn
Combine w/2 c. water and bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and boil lightly 'til soft (about half an hour).

1 onion
2 tomatoes
1-2 hot chiles
1 c. dry shrimp
(available in Asian groceries; option, but gives nice flavor)
Slice 1/2 the onion and set aside; grind the rest together 'til smooth in blender or food processor. I also like to add about 1 T nutmeg.

1/2-3/4 c. palm oil
(You should be able to get palm oil in an international market. If you don't like the idea you can just leave it out; it's mostly there for flavor and texture, the way Europeans/Americans use butter on vegetables.) Add to beans and corn w/ground ingredients and sliced onion plus salt to taste. I also like to add some greens: about a lb. of torn-up fresh, or a box of frozen. Cook, stirring, 'til beans very soft and all ingredients well-blended; let cool a bit before serving.

Fahsoulia beytha watefah

Saudi spiced lima beans w/apple, from Jean Rowland's Middle Eastern travelogue cookbook which we found in the IU library. Yummm! Serves 6.

2 c. dried lima beans, washed and soaked ovenight in water to cover by 1 inch
Drain off the soaking water; add 8 c. cold water and up to 1 t. salt, and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 'til tender (1 1/2 to 2 hrs., Rowland says; I find it doesn't usually take that long, so check 'em after 45 minutes or an hour). Drain beans again, saving 1/2 c. cooking liquid for later.

2 large onions, chopped
Saute 'til golden in 3 T (clarified) butter in a large (3-qt.) saucepan (you'll be adding the beans later).

1/2 t. allspice
1/4 t. each turmeric and black pepper

Stir in w/up to 1 t. salt.

1 large tart apple (I like Granny Smiths), cored and chopped Add and simmer, stirring, 'til apple tender. Add the beans w/just enough of the cooking liquid you set aside to moisten the mixture thoroughly, and cook over minimum heat 8-10 minutes more. This can make a complete meal with rice, plain yogurt and a salad; it also makes a nice accompaniment for curries or grilled meat along with a lovely pilaf.

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Abbie Anderson
Last updated 8/25/99