with Meyer Lemon Yogurt Sauce
March – April 2021 • Vol 3, No 114
Nourishing, mild and earthy flavored lentils have been a part of our diets for thousands of years. Archaeological remains in modern-day Turkey, for example, suggest that farmers grew lentils as far back as 7000–8000 B.C. Highly nutritious and low in calories, lentils consist of over 25% protein, as well as being an excellent source of fiber, a good source of B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and potassium.
Lentils come in a range of colors, including white, yellow, pink, red, brown, green and black. Brown lentils, the “everywhere lentil,” are the most common variety. Brown lentils are larger than most other varieties and have a flattened lens-like shape. They cook in about 30-40 minutes and hold their shape well. Older lentils take longer to soften.
What Makes a Dish Turkish?
Combining Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Central Asian influences, wonderfully spiced Turkish cuisine has been refined over many centuries. Here are a few of the main ingredients in the Turkish pantry. Almost all of them star in Turkish Carrot Lentil Stew.
♥ Olive oil (but of course!)
♥ Onions and garlic provide a flavorful base for many dishes
♥ Tomato paste adds color along with intense tomato flavor
♥ The most commonly used herbs and spices include Greek oregano, Turkish bay leaves, mint, parsley, dill, sumac, cumin, cinnamon, allspice and crushed red chili pepper flakes, such as Aleppo, Marash or Urfa
♥ Brown lentils, red lentils and chickpeas are included in many soups, stews and salads
♥ Pekmez: Grape, date, fig or pomegranate molasses
♥ Yogurt consumed plain or as a side dish is crucial to Turkish cuisine