Monday, 19 May 2014

Guest recipe: Vietnamese-inspired lentil salad

Here's another delicious-sounding recipe from my wonderful mother!

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Yesterday was cold and had us craving roasted veggies.  Today was hot, sunny and had us craving salad.  It is Victoria Day today and so all grocery stores are closed.  Time to invent from ingredients on hand.

 A lovely ripe mango was the starting point for creating this recipe.  For protein I chose the beluga lentils because I love the way these small black pearl-like lentils contrast with the bright orange mango.  Beluga lentils are a wonderful ingredient.  They are packed with protein and fibre, they do not require soaking before cooking, and they hold their shape and color  when cooked. The veggies were what I had in the fridge.  Any combination of crunchy veggies would work here - the goal is combining colors and flavors. The dressing is a variation of a vietnamese noodle salad dressing.



1 1/2 cups dry beluga lentils
3 cups water

1/2 sweet red pepper
1/2 English cucumber ( to provide approx 2 cups diced cucumber)
1 ripe mango
2 stalks celery
1 tomato
1 green onion, finely sliced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, (to provide approx 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro), or to taste

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (approx juice of 1/2 large lime)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce (I prefer sodium reduced)
1 tsp sirachi sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

Sesame seeds for garnish

Place lentils in a sieve and pick out any extra bits that aren't lentils (some brands are cleaner than others). Rinse thoroughly under cold water until water runs clear.  Place lentils in a pot with 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt.   Bring lentils to a boil then cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir the lentils occasionally and add more liquid if the pot is getting dry.  Ideally there is very little water left in the pot when the lentils are finished cooking.  Remove from heat and allow to cool before adding to the salad.  If you are in a hurry, place the cooked lentils in a fine sieve and run cold water over them until lentils are cooled. Drain well before adding to salad ingredients.

Dice the mango and veggies so that all the ingredients are approximately the same size.  I prefer to dice to about 1-2 cm size so that each forkful of salad contains a variety of flavors.
Combine the cooked, cooled lentils with the mango veggie mix.

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a cup.  Taste for balance of sweet, salty and sour and add more sugar/soy sauce/lime juice as required to get the desired balance.

Toss the lentil salad with the finished dressing.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top for decoration.

Enjoy :-)

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