From the archives. These are tasty, absurdly easy, and low on the glycemic index, so you won't be ravenous again at ten. I always think that they'll be too weird to appeal to other people, since most of us are not at our most adventuresome at breakfast time, but history has proved me wrong. Maybe you will like them too. Originally posted in September 2004.
We like savory breakfasts in these parts, but are not remotely capable of making a hot breakfast on weekdays. Omelettes and the like are lovely on Saturday mornings, but require too much coordination for Tuesdays. So there are a couple of dishes I've developed that I can make very easily in bulk, and which dress up quickly and appetizingly in the morning. One of them is what we call "breakfast lentils." Here you see them with yogurt, red onion, and lightly pickled cucumber.
Here you see the ingredients, assembled beforehand. The sugar bowl is actually our salt cellar, and I don't always use the ground fenugreek. It's a nice addition, but a pretty subtle one, and the dish is perfectly delicious without it. The crispy onions are required, though. They're Thai, I think, and about a dollar per container. I get mine at my local, mainstream supermarket, but of course they're also available at various Asian markets.
First I put a couple or few handfuls of lentils, picked over, into the pan. Exact quantities are not in the spirit of this dish -- the only thing that matters is the proportion of water to lentils, and even that winds up being adjustable as they cook.
Next, add about a third or half as many unsalted, roasted peanuts as lentils. It's a legume party! The peanuts can be left whole (most will split in half as you cook them), or you can roughly chop some or all of them.
A couple of heaping tablespoons of onions go in, as well. They will of course uncrisp as they simmer; sometimes I put more on top when I serve them, so we get both textures. Add salt, pepper, and fenugreek, too.
Add water to cover.
Simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are soft but not mushy, adding water as needed. If things seem too soupy toward the end, just take off the lid and turn up the heat a bit. Keep in mind that the lentils will dry and thicken up a bit as they cool, so don't let things get completely dried out.
Adjust the seasoning. Let them cool to room temperature, and store in the refrigerator. They're good cold, at room temperature, or reheated. I love them with yogurt, but also mixed with peas, or over rice.
They aren't the prettiest food in the world, but we like 'em.