Food Network star Aarti Sequeira’s mother’s red lentil recipe is a dish dear to the chef’s heart. It’s a nutritious, comfort food that her mother often puts on the family table.
Easy to make and a satisfying tummy filler, it’s a recipe everyone—from college students to seasoned chefs—should add to their menu rotation.
Aarti Sequeira says she is heavily influenced in the kitchen by her mother, who is a ‘great cook’
The chef explained to Showbiz Cheat Sheet her mother’s dedication to preserving beloved family recipes in writing and encourages home cooks everywhere to do the same.
“My grandmother died young and my mother was the oldest of her siblings,” the Aarti Party star told us. “My grandmother never wrote down her recipes. So when she died, all those recipes went with her. She didn’t just take the recipes. She took that kind of connection with past generations, and she took all that wisdom with her.
“And so my mom and her siblings really missed something because to write them down was not just the knowledge, but the connection that it was to look at her handwriting and feel like she was still with her.” them somehow,” she added. “So my mom decided that wasn’t going to happen to her and started writing down the recipes. My mom is also a great cook and has a recipe journal.”
Sequeira’s current book, My Family Recipe Diary: With Prayers and Writingsis beautifully designed to serve as a unique heirloom from generation to generation.
The family’s lentils even earned a spot in her own recipe journal: “There’s a lentil dish that would be on our table a few nights a week, at least every week when I was growing up,” she recalls. “So for me the joy of passing that recipe on to my great-grandchildren is that, ‘Hey, I wrote it down for you. Otherwise, I don’t know if you’d get it.’”
Sequeira’s twist on her mother’s red lentil recipe
The chef’s lentil recipe calls for red masoor dal lentils “plucked for stones,” chopped onion, sliced garlic, peeled and chopped ginger, diced tomato, and, optionally, a serrano chili, cut in half. The red lentils are soaked and then cooked with these ingredients for about 40 minutes.
As Sequeira says about this mild dish in her video above, “There’s nothing bland about these lentils, let me tell you. They explode with flavor in your mouth.”
But it’s the dish’s tempering oil that gives it an unforgettable spice: cumin and mustard seeds are put in one bowl and turmeric and paprika in another. A small amount of oil is heated in a frying pan over medium heat and she warns, “Be careful, this happens very quickly!”
When the oil “glitters”, toss in the seeds and immediately cover them to avoid splashing them with hot oil. The spices are added and the chef says “they should sizzle and bubble a bit – that’s the bloom and it’s exactly what you want.”
Before serving, stir the mixture into the cooked lentils and sprinkle with coriander leaves.
Get the full recipe, video and reviews on the Food Network site†
Sequeira’s lentil recipe is irresistible, according to Food Network reviewers
As the chef himself says, these lentils don’t get boring, and home cooks called the Food Network site to say they totally agreed.
“I made this today and it’s gone. This is one of the most satisfying dishes I’ve made in a long time. and it’s very easy! The flavors meld together, and the result is so delicious… like lentil jam,” said one reviewer.
Another person wrote: “I’m vegetarian and I love lentils, but sometimes I don’t have new recipe ideas for them. Tried this once and it’s just so damn good!”
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