Reddish-orange when raw, this variety of Indian lentils turns a beautiful, rich yellow when cooked. It makes a nice alternative to hummus.
Makes about 2 cups
1 c. red lentils
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1 lg. shallot, chopped
3 Tbls. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 Tbls. red pepper flakes
3 fresh curry leaves, optional
Toasted pita, baguette or Crispbread
Place lentils, turmeric, shallot, and 2 1/4 c. water in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until all liquid is just about absorbed, about 20 minutes. Lentils should have a little bite.
To mash lentils you can break apart by mixing and mashing with a fork in a medium bowl until desired thickness, pass them through a food mill fitted with a medium disk or use a food processor, but only pulse and do not over process or the mixture will look like baby food. If the lentil mixture seems too thick, add more water. Add a generous pinch of salt, stir again to combine, taste and transfer to a serving bowl or plate. Keep warm. (Tip: This can be made a day ahead and reheated just before serving).
Heat oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and curry leaves if you have them. Cook, stirring, until garlic just starts to turn golden but does not burn, about 1 minute. Spoon garlic, chilies, and curry leaves onto lentils with a slotted spoon and drizzle on remaining oil. Serve warm with bread.