Friday, July 20, 2007


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This is a traditional Palestinian dish, little known in Western circles. I've been wanting to try it for some time, and this week, busy with lots of different things, it seemed like an easy meal-- and it was! I've seen this recipe here and there on the 'Net, and I didn't change it, but I was little more exact with the measurements. It is simple and homey, not terribly attractive, but we really liked it. The browned, or caramelized, onions really make this dish, visually and taste-wise. I've noticed that many Middle Eastern home-style dishes utilize browned onions as a topping. I think it was, and still is, an inexpensive and clever way to add flavor and color to otherwise very simple dishes. The recipes seem to indicate that this dish is served at room temperature, but we ate it hot. Do try this!

Printable Recipe


Serves 3

1 cup red split lentils (orange lentils)
100 gms (about 3 1/2 oz.) egg-free tagliatelle or linguine pasta (flat)
4 cups (1 qt.) water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbs olive oil or other favorite oil
1 tsp. sumac (see notes about this lemony-tasting spice here), available in Middle Eastern stores, specialty spice markets, delicatessens, and many bulk food stores (Bulk Barn here in Canada)

Place the lentils and the tagliatelle in a deep pan (I used a stir-fry pan) with 3 cups of the water. Add the salt and cumin. When the water starts to boil start stirring, adding the last cup of water whenever the water level becomes minimal, until the mixture turns into a homogeneous thick broth-like mixture. This process should take about 15 minutes of stirring the mixture over medium heat off and on-- but keep an eye on it.

While it cooked, I browned the onions in a large skillet in the olive oil (you may need a bit more) over medium heat, stirring often. (Use a well-seasoned cast iron, stainless steel, or carbon steel skillet, or nonstick.) You want them to end up deep brown and a little crispy.  I was not patient enough to do it in the traditional Middle Eastern way, and also wanted to use less oil, so I used Mark Bittman's easier method(PS: If NYTimes blocks you, use the link in an incognito window.)

Pour the lentil mixture into 3 flat pasta bowls. Top with the caramelized onions, then sprinkle with sumac.  Serve with green olives, salad, or spring onions and radish.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving):
421.1 calories; 13% calories from fat; 6.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 643.6mg sodium; 553.8mg potassium; 71.3g carbohydrates; 8.9g fiber; 3.5g sugar; 62.4g net carbs; 21.1g protein; 8.2 points.



Anonymous said...

mmmm, this reminds me of the palestinian lentil soup you've posted a long time ago, which i love to the last drop. even my onion-hating friends were asking for more! i'll have to try this one out!

Anonymous said...

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Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thanks so much, Julie!

Anonymous said...

Do you think I could sub the tagliatelle with brown rice pasta? That dish looks like awesome comfort food. I'm going to have to try it! Thanks for posting it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bryanna,

Is there any difference between tagliatelle pasta and fettucini pasta?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

I think fettucine is a bit thicker, Brenda.