Once properly cooked, red lentils turn into a creamy thick purée all by themselves, so there is no need to blend.
- 130g red lentils, washed and well drained
- 480ml hot water
- 4cm kombu seaweed (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika, plus extra to garnish
- Quarter tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
- Half tsp salt
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp umeboshi vinegar (optional, for umami taste)
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Place the well-drained lentils into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the hot water, kombu (if using) and bay leaf. Bring to the boil over a medium flame, then lower the heat, half cover and let simmer for 10 mins.
- Stir and cook until all the lentils fall apart, forming a soft purée (do not add any extra water unless absolutely necessary; usually this 1:3 lentil to water ratio is just right). At the end of cooking, add the smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and salt to taste.
- Remove from the heat, add the garlic, mustard, lemon juice, olive oil and umeboshi vinegar (if using). Mix well and let sit for at least 1 hour before serving – the purée will thicken and develop a nicer flavour. If you’re in a hurry, spread the hot purée on a baking sheet and let it cool for 20 mins. It should thicken and when well mixed have a hummus consistency.
- Sprinkle with a little smoked paprika and freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley to garnish. Serve with red chicory, or endive leaves, broccoli and/or asparagus spears; in fact any other steamed or raw vegetables of your choice will work nicely.