This very simple dish we have been loving for years. Until I started to cook the lentil in this way, I have never known that it can taste so delicious. It is so flavorful that we feel we want to have seconds and possibly thirds! There is actually not much trick for cooking this dish. It is very simple, and I don’t use any oil.
Broth and herb make it so delicious!
Many recipes for cooking lentils call for vegetables such as onions, celery, and carrots, to cut them into small dice, sauté them with oil, then cook with the lentils. This is delicious, too, but sometimes we want it simpler, we want it to be cooked without oil, or we simply want to enjoy the consistency of just the lentil! Therefore, I use my homemade vegetable broth to cook the lentil with, which is made with onion, celery, carrot, sun dried tomatoes, dried mushroom, and herbs. In this way, all the beautiful and nutritional juice of those vegetables and herbs are cooked with the lentils without their physical appearance. And I add crushed garlic, bay leaf and thyme, which brings such a beautiful fragrance and flavor. Just with that, plus salt and black pepper, the lentils will be transformed into an absolutely delicious dish.
Lemon or balsamic at the end makes it even more delicious!
Just cooking with the broth and the herbs are already good enough. And yet, adding lemon or balsamic towards the end of cooking brings magic. If you are looking for refreshing and uplifting flavor, lemon will be the perfect last addition. I usually peel some of the skin, cut it into a thin string and add it towards the end of cooking. The bitterness and aroma of the zest will add a very nice flavor to it. And at the end, squeezing the lemon juice into the pot and mixing the lentils. You will smell the deliciousness of this dish immediately. If you are looking for some richer and more grounding flavor, adding balsamic vinegar towards the end of the cooking will do the work. It is quite fascinating how this small addition of acidic flavor can transform the overall flavor so beautifully.
Black color is healthy
In my culture, it is encouraged to eat a good amount of black food, as the black color corresponds to the kidney, bladder, and reproductive organ meridian. This meridian governs the reproduction, growth, anti-aging, immune system, as well as circulation of water in the body. As it is deeply connected with the fluid circulation and reproductive organ’s health, people also say that black food supports the women’s health! In Japanese cuisine, we eat lots of seaweed, black sesame, dried shiitake, burdock roots, or black beans in our daily diet. But many of them are not such common ingredients in the Western diet. So, what are the alternative black food? Walnuts, blue berries, black berries, black quinoa, black rice, and of course, black lentils and black beans! Therefore, I prefer to choose black lentil or black beans over other kinds of lentils and beans, to include the black color in our diet.
Savory Black Lentils
- 1cup Black lentils
- 2 cup Water
- 1 Garlic clove
- Lemon peel
- 1 Tbsp Lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
- Step 1 Rinse the lentils and soak in water for over 6 hours prior to cooking.
- Step 2 Put the lentils and their soaking water into a pot with pressed garlic (if you don’t have a garlic press, use minced garlic), thyme, crushed black pepper, and thinly sliced lemon peel. (When you add the balsamic vinegar instead of lemon juice at the end, skip the lemon peel.)
- Step 3 Put the lid on. turn the heat to medium high and bring it to a boil.
- Step 4 Once boiled, bring the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes.
- Step 5 Open the lid and add salt to adjust the flavor. Turn the heat to medium low and cook some more if there is excess moisture that needs to be evaporated.
- Step 6 Once turning the heat off, add some lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and mix the lentils well.