Ever since a chance encounter with the amazing Ottolenghi deli/restaurant in London, a few years back, I have been a little obsessed with the duo behind it, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. I don’t know if it has anything to do with my Mediterranean background or just my love for great food. I have several of their cookbooks and I would say I am making some of their food quite regularly.
It helps their food has a strong focus on well cooked vegetables. By this I don’t mean vegetables found in your school dinners, but vegetables cooked to bring out their best in texture and taste. Their recipes have lengthy lists of ingredients, which can seem daunting, but it is worth it every time. They also use a lot of legumes/pulses in their cooking, not as a replacement for meat, but in celebration of what it brings to the dish. In fact, a lot of their recipes do have meat, and they are not vegetarian.
Some of my favourite dishes contain lentils (though I wouldn’t have said so a few short years ago!!) and one day Sami Tamimi posted a picture of a dish he was cooking. It had lentils and what looked like fettucine mixed with it. Now if you are familiar with rice cooked with orzo (of which they have a recipe in their book Jerusalem), it will make you rethink how you eat rice! So pasta and lentils, this sounded good! In fact, the picture looked enticing. I sent him a message asking for the recipe… and thankfully, he responded with it!
So, below is this recipe from him. I have had to fill in some blanks, so hopefully I have done so correctly. I was pleased with the result and now have a stash of tamarind paste in the freezer and more in the cupboard!
Makes enough for 4 people.
- 2 cups Green/Black Lentils (I used the french green lentils)
- 6 cups of Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- 300-400g of Fettuccine, broken into small pieces
- 2 Tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
- 1/2 cup Tamarind Water (see note below)
- Salt & Pepper
- 2 large Red Onions, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 6 Garlic Cloves, crushed
- 1 cup fresh Coriander, chopped
Place the lentils into a large saucepan with the stock and cook until they are nearly done. (This will depend on the type of lentil you are using, mine take about 15 minutes)
Whilst the lentils are cooking, fry the onions in a little oil until they are golden brown. Transfer them to a plate lined with paper towel and add a sprinkling of salt. Set aside.
When the lentils are nearly done, but still a bit firm. Add the broken fettuccine, pomegranate molasses, tamarind water and salt & pepper to the saucepan with the stock and lentils.
In another saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the crushed garlic and fry until it starts to colour. Mix in the chopped coriander, remove from the heat and set aside.
By now the lentils and pasta should be cooked. The dish should have a bit of sauce and not be too dry. You might need to add more liquid. Taste and adjust any seasoning before transferring to a plate. Garnish with the onions and the garlic & coriander mixture. Finish with some chopped parsley and sumac.
Harak Osba’o translates literally to “he burnt his finger”.
Tamarind Water – This can be made using 2 teaspoons of Tamarind Paste mixed with 100 ml of water.