Turkish Red Lentil and Rice Soup

IMG_0335 lentils

Did you know that lentils are edible seeds from the legume family? They are well known for their lens shape and sold with or without their outer husks intact.Though they are  a common food staple in Asian and North African cuisines, the greatest production of lentils nowadays is in Canada.

For the most part, lentils have a number of health benefits. They are low in calories, rich in iron and folate and serve as an excellent source of protein. They  also pack health-promoting polyphenols and may reduce several heart disease risk factors and type 2 diabetes.

Lentils are often categorized by their color, which can range from yellow and red to green, brown or black. Red lentils are  are split and cook quickly. They’re great for making dal and soups and have a somewhat sweet and nutty flavor.  And the best part about lentils is that they are easy to cook and do not require pre soaking prior to cooking, making them perfect for soups and stews.

And with that being said, Turkish Red Lentil and Rice Soup fits the bill for healthy eating on a budget, especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

This simple, yet robust soup is rich with spices and tomato. It gets a pleasantly thick body from white rice and  red lentils, which soften and break down during cooking. The Aleppo pepper is a wonderful addition, lending a gentle heat. If you can’t find it, order online or substitute with an additional teaspoon of paprika and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes. 

 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Soup:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion cut into ½-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 medium garlic clove, finely grated
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup red lentils
2 tablespoons long-grain white rice
3 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth
Kosher salt, to taste
For the Aleppo pepper oil:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
For Serving:
Chopped fresh mint leaves or basil leaves
Lemon wedges 

In a large saucepan over medium, melt the butter. Once it has stopped foaming, add the onion then sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, paprika and cumin, then sauté for 1 minute.
Add the lentils, rice, water, vegetable broth and 2 teaspoons salt, then bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and rice are tender and broken down, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium, heat the olive oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the Aleppo pepper and cook until a few bubbles appear and the oil is bright red. Remove from heat and set aside. Serve the soup with Aleppo pepper oil drizzled over each serving.
Serve with mint or basil and lemon wedges.

Ginger Shrimp and Asparagus Stir Fry

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An easy stir fry that you can quickly prep ahead of time for the whole week! Simply add jasmine rice and you’re set! If you don’t have a wok, use a saute pan or even a cast irons skillet. Just make sure you get it nice and hot before starting—stir-fry is a high-heat, quick-cooking operation. And, if you do have a wok, gold star goes to you! Use it!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons water, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons safflower or other high-heat oil
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
8 shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced into 1/4-inch strips
1 Fresno chile or jalapeño, sliced into thin rings
2 cups asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
Cooked jasmine rice, for serving

 

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, 2 tablespoons water, lemon juice, orange juice, rice vinegar and sugar. Set aside.

In another small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of water and the cornstarch. Whisk with a fork until the cornstarch has dissolved. Set aside the slurry.

Heat a large wok,  sauté pan or a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan evenly. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the shrimp, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and chile and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the asparagus and continue to cook for an additional minute. Add reserved soy sauce mixture to the pan and cook for 1 minute.

Stir the slurry to be sure the cornstarch hasn’t settled, then add it to the stir-fry. Toss and cook until the sauce begins to thicken, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Serve immediately with jasmine rice.

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Egg Foo Yung

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This lacy golden omelette with a filling of ground pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and scallions was originally created as a special occasion dish.

The chefs at Shun Lee West in Manhattan have a great trick for forming egg foo yung: They use a wok ladle to place the egg mixture into the oil so that it sets in the shape of the ladle’s bowl to get that perfect dome shape.

Basically, scrounging around in my fridge, I actually has green bell pepper, bean sprouts, carrots and onions on hand, along with a bunch of eggs, so during this COVID-19 quarantine, the ingredients on hand made for an easy substitution.

Makes 8 Omelettes

INGREDIENTS:

For the Sauce:

1 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1⁄2 inch pieces ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

For the Egg Foo Yung:
1⁄2 pound ground pork
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1⁄2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon plus 1 tbsp. sesame oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon canola oil, plus more for frying
6 ounces raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and finely chopped
1⁄2 cup water chestnuts, finely chopped, drained and squeezed dry
1⁄3 cup fresh bean sprouts
1⁄3 cup sliced scallions, plus more for serving
6 eggs, beaten

DIRECTIONS:

To make the sauce: Bring stock, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, the oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon sherry, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, the garlic, and ginger to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan over high heat. Cook, whisking, until thickened, 2-3 minutes; strain sauce and keep warm.

To make the Egg Foo Yung: Mix pork, 2 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, the vinegar, 1 teaspoon sherry, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl; set aside for 10 minutes. Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork mixture; cook, stirring and breaking up meat, until it is no longer pink, 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a bowl; set aside.

Pour canola oil into a 6-quart saucepan to a depth of 2 inches. Heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°F. Combine remaining soy sauce, cornstarch, and sesame oil, plus reserved pork, the shrimp, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, scallions, eggs, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Using a ladle and working in batches, gently lower 1⁄2-cup amounts of egg mixture into oil; cook, flipping once, until omelettes are puffed and brown, 1 1⁄2-2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer omelettes to paper towels.

Serve drizzled with reserved sauce; garnish with scallions.

COOK’S NOTES:

For a healthier version of this dish, omit the pork and the shrimp.

A variety of vegetables can be used in the recipe, which can include green bell pepper, julienned carrots, shredded cabbage and mushrooms,

Feel free to substitute a vegetable broth for the chicken broth, in making the sauce.

 

Hello Friends!

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!