it is a glorious summer afternoon. the sun burns hot and my already nut brown skin glistens. the slight breeze carries across the smell of lentils simmered with lemon, cloves of garlic, a cinnamon stick and a bay leaf. when in need of comfort i turn to pots and pans - open up jars of subcontinental spices to inhale the smells of memory and the days of a simple life - when excitement was weeks of summer vacation. pots, pans and jars of spice to me, recall those simple pleasures. i am recreating a favourite meal. fluffy white rice and brown lentils.
i saute a small onion thinly sliced in some vegetable oil. when slightly caramelised i add a bashed and finally chopped clove of garlic, a cinnamon stick, a bay leaf, a teaspoon of cumin seeds and some chilli flakes frying them lightly till they release their fragrance. into that i throw a cup full of green lentils. i top this up with water and simmer the lentils until tender and cooked. i also add a ring of lemon to this.
my favourite way of eating lentils is on a bed of steamed rice. except that i have very little rice and lots of lentils. on the side i love a salad of diced cucumber, tomato and a hint of onion with a squeeze of lemon or a cooling cucumber raita.
to me, that the soul of home in a bowl.