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Friday, April 18, 2008

Turkish Cooking With Emre: Mercimekli Kabak

"Mercimekli Kabak"

(Lentil Zucchini)

This dish is also known as Eksili Kabak, which means Lemon Zucchini. The magic ingredients are lemon, mint, and garlic. A grateful bunch of people prepared and enjoyed it with Emre last year but we didn't have a blog to post it back then!

We made it in larger quantities, so this is somewhat of an estimate. It should serve 3-4 people as a meal with some bread and a salad. It takes about 40 minutes if you're really fast at chopping and have help, but you should probably allow an hour.

-- Chop 4-5 zucchinis.

-- Chop finely and then saute 2 small onions in some olive oil.

-- While the onions are "getting killed" (as they say in Turkish), rinse and then start boiling about 1 C of brown lentils in another pot, but only for 10 minutes or so, until the skin comes off and they are still slightly crunchy.

-- Once the onions are slightly translucent (about 5-7 minutes), add 1 T of tomato paste. If you can get your hands on paprika paste, that is a wonderful substitute.

-- Add the zucchini to the onions and tomatoes, and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until they are softened but retain a slight crunch.

-- The lentils will probably be done about 5 minutes after putting the zucchini in the other pot. Drain most of the water from them, and then add them to the zucchini, onions, and tomato paste, along with about 1 C of water, give or take.

-- Add 5+ cloves of crushed garlic to everything, and let it all simmer on low heat for at least 15 minutes, and as long as it takes for everything to get soft and blended and delicious.

-- Add 1/2 C+ of lemon juice, and after about a minute, turn the heat off.

-- Sprinkle generously with about 4 T dried peppermint (must be peppermint, no substitutes will do, this is a magic ingredient), put the cover on and let it get ready for about 5 minutes.

-- Stir, serve, and enjoy!