Lentil Salad with Poached Duck Egg

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Clean Eating. So, I recently had a party and since it was a party, there was cake, lots of it; because like Julia Child said “A party without cake is just a meeting.”  and no one likes meetings. In the same week, I also had my birthday, which thanks to the husband we celebrated in beautiful Bali. Although Bali is known for its fabulous beaches (and we do love the beaches), it also has some of the most amazing food ever and a big part of their cuisine is pork. Needless to say I stuffed myself till I could barely breathe, slept straight after (there isn’t much else you can do after all that beautiful fatty food), woke up and again stuffed myself till I could barely breathe. The ribs at Naughty Nuris (a small road side eatery), are what porky dreams are made of. When we got back home after four days of the above routine, my system was demanding a detox! And that’s how this recipe began, as a vegetarian, clean eating, salad popping dish. I was thinking of lentils and vegetables and fresh crisp greens and I really thought I had come up with the perfect detox food that wouldn’t starve me. Then, the holiday blues struck- big time! All I could think about was the awesome food we’d had in Bali. I told those fatty, porky thoughts to go away; I was already in the health food zone. And then I opened the fridge and lo and behold the first thing my hungry greedy eyes see is bacon! It was a sign; the detox would have to wait. And that’s how my perfectly clean healthy recipe got converted. I can always eat healthy tomorrow, day after, I guess.

 I had also picked up some duck eggs as I was fascinated by their beautiful blue colour, and thought a poached egg sitting atop the lentil salad would be a complete meal.

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Since this recipe was conceived as a vegetarian one, I’ll be sharing with you the vegetarian version as well as the bacon one. This is one of those recipes where most ingredients can be substituted or left out depending on your preference.

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Ingredients

  • Red Lentils/Sabut Masoor- 1 cup
  • Bacon Rashers- 4-6
  • Onion- 1 small
  • Garlic paste- 1 ½ tsp
  • Ginger paste- 1 ½ tsp
  • Cumin- 1tsp
  • Coriander powder-1 tsp
  • Salt- ½ tsp salt
  • Fresh red chilies- 2-3
  • Feta Cheese- 1/3 cup
  • Kalamata Olives- 1/3 cup
  • Fresh Coriander- handful
  • Lemon juice-  2-3 tbsp.
  • Cabbage/lettuce- one head
  • Duck eggs- 2 (or as required)
  • Vinegar- 2 tbsp

Instructions

  • Wash the lentils, if required, and soak in tepid water for ½ hour- 1 hour. This helps the lentils cook faster, however it’s not absolutely necessary to soak the lentils. Before you start cooking, drain and discard the water the lentils were soaking in.
  • Finely chop the onion, keep 2 tbsp aside for garnish. Cut the bacon into small pieces. Heat a pan, on medium heat. Once hot, add the bacon and fry and till all the fat has rendered and the bacon is nice and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a kitchen towel.
  • In the same pan, add the cumin and let crackle, then add the onion and fry till golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic paste, fry for a minute. Add the lentils along with the coriander powder and salt.
  • Add only enough water that it dries up once the lentils are cooked. Make sure you cook the lentils until just done. You want it to be cooked but still have a bite to it. Don’t let it over cook and get mushy.
  • Once cooked, take it off the heat, add the lemon juice and mix gently.
  • Also add chopped fresh coriander, olives, onion, finely chopped red chilies (deseed if you don’t want all the heat) and crumbled feta. Lastly sprinkle the crispy bacon and top with a poached egg.
  • To poach the egg.
  • Bring a medium pot of water to boil and add the vinegar to it. Crack one egg in a bowl. Using a whisk, stir the water vigorously to create a whirlpool. Gently place the egg in the center of the whirlpool and let simmer for approximately 3 minutes (you want the yolk to be runny). Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the egg from the water and keep warm while you poach the other eggs. If you’re confident you can poach both eggs at the same time.
  • You can serve the salad as is or in cabbage/lettuce cups. Carefully separate the leaves from the head of cabbage, discard the first 2-3 leaves. Fill each cup with the salad and serve.

Ingredients

  •  Red Lentils/Sabut Masoor- 1 cup
  • Olive oil/vegetable oil- 2-3 tbsp
  • Beetroot- 1 small
  • Onion- 1 small
  • Garlic paste- 1 ½ tsp
  • Ginger paste- 1 ½ tsp
  • Cumin- 1tsp
  • Coriander powder-1 tsp
  • Salt- ½ tsp salt
  • Fresh red chilies- 2-3
  • Kalamata Olives- 1/3 cup
  • Feta Cheese- 1/3 cup
  • Paneer/Cottage cheese/ricotta cheese- 1/3 cup- ½ cup
  • Fresh Coriander- handful
  • Lemon juice-  2-3 tbsp.
  • Cabbage/Lettuce- one head

Instructions

  • Wash the lentils, if required, and soak in tepid water for ½ hour- 1 hour. This helps the lentils cook faster, however it’s not absolutely necessary to soak the lentils. Before you start cooking, drain and discard the water the lentils were soaking in.
  • Cook the beetroot (boil or roast till tender). Cut into small pieces and toss with the paneer/cottage cheese.
  • Finely chop the onion, keep 2 tbsp aside for garnish. Heat oil in a pan, add the cumin and let crackle then add the onion and fry till golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic paste, fry for a minute. Add the lentils along with the coriander powder and salt.
  • Add only enough water that it dries up once the lentils are cooked. Make sure you cook the lentils until just done. You want it to be cooked but still have a bite to it. Don’t let it over cook and get mushy.
  • Once cooked, take it off the heat, add the lemon juice and mix gently.
  • Also add chopped fresh coriander, olives, onion, beetroot and paneer, finely chopped red chilies (deseed if you don’t want all the heat) and crumbled feta.
  •  You can serve the salad as is or in cabbage/lettuce cups. Carefully separate the leaves from the head of cabbage, discard the first 2-3 leaves. Fill each cup with the salad and serve.

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Notes

*You can use hen eggs instead of duck eggs.  The egg can also be fried instead of being poached.

*Most ingredients like the cheese, chilies, olives and beetroot can substituted or left out depending on your preference.

*You could use cabbage or any kind of lettuce to serve the salad in. The cabbage leaves are slightly thicker compared to the lettuce, so choose accordingly.

*This salad can be served warm or cold. It tastes delicious either way.

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