This is a lovely simple dish to prepare & is perfect for summer lunches, to take to work, dinners & bar b qs. If we get some summer you should make it. There are tons of herbs, soft comforting lentils & sweet carrots. YUM!
If you follow our Facbeook page you will have seen we have been nomming up a lot of Turkish food the last couple of weeks as I came across an old cookbook & remembered I love the flavours of Turkey. They use spices & herbs to maximum effect while keeping things pretty simple. The salads & vegetable dishes are interesting & varied so we have been trying them all out. The surprise hit was steamed courgette & apple with hazelnut dressing. I don’t even really like courgette but it was fantastic.
This carrot salad was not surprising as I read the ingredient list I knew I was going to love it. We are now on the third batch in 2 weeks & everyone has really enjoyed it. Last week we took it to a picnic & it was a hit. It is great hot or cold & keeps well in the fridge for days. I have been scooping it onto flatbread for lunch with a couple of blobs of yogurt.
The instructions on this recipe state that the carrots should retain some crunch but then it tells you to simmer them for over half an hour. Maybe Turkish carrots are especially hard but mine turned out soft & I like it that way. If you want them with some bite either cut them into thicker slices or cut down the cooking time & add less water.
The only recommendation I have for this is to get good quality herbs – lots of them. I have stopped buying herbs from the supermarket as they are generally tasteless & very expensive. Luckily there are a couple of delis & a bunch of Asian grocers around which sell much better herbs that do not break the bank. We also grow herbs in the garden but this year like most things in the garden (except the greedy snails) they are not doing well. Marjoram is my main success & I will use it in this dish. I think you can play around with the herbs, just make sure to use lots of them, whatever they are.
Turkish Carrot & Lentil Salad (Zeytinyagli Havuc)
Ingredients: (Serves 4 as a side dish)
4 tbsp olive oil
4 large carrots
1 onion (sliced)
3 large cloves garlic
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp tomato puree (or 1 chopped fresh tomato)
1 tsp sugar
250ml water (more or less, just cover the carrots)
1 bunch fresh dill
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 bunch fresh mint
salt & pepper
1. Soak the lentils for half an hour & then simmer them for about 15 minutes until almost cooked.
2. Meanwhile gently fry the onion in the olive oil for a few minutes with a tiny pinch of salt.
3. Finely slice the garlic & add that & the coriander seeds & fry gently for 5 minutes or so until the garlic & coriander are really fragrant. Keep the heat really low while doing this & make sure there is plenty of olive oil, if the onions have absorbed it all, add more.
4. Add the carrots, tomato, sugar, a big pinch of salt & a grind of black pepper, water & bring everything to the boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
5. Chop half of each bunch of herbs, & add these, a pinch of salt, a good crack of pepper (about 1 tsp) & the drained lentils to the carrots. It doesn’t matter of you get stalks from the herbs in as they are going to cook for a while. Gently simmer for about 10 minutes.
6. Everything should be soft by now & most of the water should have evaporated. If there is still lots of water either simmer it away or strain some out. The lentils are going to continue to soak up liquid after the cooking has stopped so it needs to have around 100ml left in the pan.