Addis (Red Lentils with Tomatoes) & Old Haunts

13 Jul

 I’ve loved some restaurants in my life.  Some remain, some have since closed, turned over into other eateries or morphed into cell phone stores.  I look back on these places the way one might look back on an old flame.  Oh, tiny little place no one knew about in the then-dodgy part of London with a BYOB policy and amazing food.  Your zebra striped cushions and coffee so thick it was like drinking melted chocolate and the Addis…oh, simple plate of red or pink lentils done with tomatoes and onions and served with flat bread, warmed olive oil…I miss you.  I miss your crowded tables and chatter and the way meals lingered and maybe this overlaps with that time in my life and that boy – the brow sweats just remembering the looks over the table and the hot, hot food.  There were other restaurants, of course, but none as flavorful and cheap and buzzy as this.

Addis (Red Lentils with Tomatoes and Onions)

1 cup red lentils

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 tsp cumin

1 pinch saffron



1 1/2 cups boiling water

Soak lentils overnight.  Heat oil on medium and add onions.  When just beginning to color, add chopped tomatoes.  Cook on medium until reduced – about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, drain lentils and put into another pot with salt, pepper, cumin, and saffron.  Stir to mix spices and the add boiling water.  Cook on medium-high until lentils are tender.  Drain any remaining water and add lentils to tomato mixture, stirring well.  Heat through, season as needed and serve while very hot, on toasted flat bread with additional olive oil on top (chewy naan is fine, or ripped and crisped pita).


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