Did you know that some of the ‘World’s Best Lentils’ are grown in Canada? Canadian Lentils are not just a winter staple but a healthy, year round food that can easily be incorporated into your daily meal plans, dinner parties and diet. For the entire month of May we will be joining Chef Michael Smith on his search for the ‘World’s Best Lentil Recipes.’ Our first stop on this magnificent journey is Dubai! The World’s Tallest Building, the Burj Khalifa is also home to Dubai’s best restaurant, the Armani Amal. One expects to find man-made islands resembling palm trees, award winning architecture and an indoor ski slope in Dubai but is usually surprised to see lentils on almost every menu in town. This will show the Lentil Hunter with Chef Vijay Arnand making his signature ‘Dubai Gold Lentil Soup.’ You can make this at home using the recipe below and follow along as Chef Vijay shows the Lentil Hunter how to make a perfect Crispy Lentil Fritter.

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Dubai Gold Lentil Soup with Crispy Lentil Fritters

The Recipe Story

You can see a lot from the top of the world’s tallest building, especially the incredible building boom that’s defined Dubai in recent years. Look closely from the Burj Khalifa observation deck and you’ll find a ski hill in the desert, a pair of man-made islands resembling palm trees, award winning architecture and maybe you’ll even spot lots of tiny little Ferraris and Lamborghinis racing around. What you might not notice though, are the lentils on menus all over town. In fact 163 stories straight down at the base of the tower they play a starring role on the menu at Armani Amal, the best restaurant in Dubai. Chef Vijay Anand anchors a signature soup with lentils, than elevates it with delightfully crispy fritters made with more lentils and a deceptively simple recipe. Makes enough for 4 to 6

Here’s what you need for the soup 1 1/2 cups of dried red lentils, 2 onions shredded through the large holes of a box grater, 5 cups of water, 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds, 3 tablespoons of peeled ginger root finely chopped (about 1 inch), 4 cloves of freshly minced garlic, 2 small green fresh chilies, 2 or 3 ripe tomatoes coarsely chopped (about 3 cups), 1 handful of tender cilantro leaves, 1 tablespoon of curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder, 1/2 cup of unsweetened shaved or shredded coconut

Here’s what you need for the fritters 1 cup of dried red lentils 1 cup of water 1/2 teaspoon of salt 1 freshly minced onion 1 tablespoon of peeled ginger root, finely chopped (about 1 inch) 1 handful of freshly chopped cilantro vegetable oil for frying

How to make the fritters

  • Stir the raw red lentils, water and salt together, cover the works and soak them for an hour or two. They’ll rehydrate and soften considerably as they absorb almost all of the moisture.
  • Transfer the lentils, water and onion to your food processor and puree them until they’re smooth. Add the ginger and cilantro and process just long enough to stir the works together. You can make this batter in advance and refrigerate until needed.
  • Pour 3 inches or so of oil into a large soup pot or shallow skillet and bring to a constant steady 365° F using a frying or candy thermometer to accurately judge the temperature. Alternatively, fire up your counter top deep fat fryer.
  • Using two spoons – the first to scoop, the second to release the batter – gently drop dollops of the batter into the hot oil. Stir gently until the fritters cook through and lightly brown. Strain them out and rest briefly on folded paper towel to absorb any extra oil.

How to make the soup

  • Begin by tossing the lentils, onions, water and salt into a soup pot. Over medium high heat, while stirring gently, bring the works to a full furious boil. Adjust the heat lowering the pace to a slow steady simmer. Cover and continue cooking until the lentils soften and dissolve, another 10 minutes or so. Stir occasionally. Switch to a vigorous whisk which will break the lentils down even further into a smooth puree or for extra finesse puree with an immersion blender or counter-top blender.
  • Finish the soup with a classic Indian tadka. Splash the oil into your favourite sauté pan over medium-high heat. When it just begins to smoke take the pan off the heat and add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ginger, garlic and chilies. Shake gently as they snap and crackle a bit. If they don’t, return the pan to the heat until they do. The intense heat will fully release their aromatic oils and flavours. Add the tomatoes and powdered spices stirring briefly until they too heat through and brighten. Pour and stir the hot oil directly into the lentil soup. Simmer the soup for another 10 minutes or so, stirring frequently.  Reserve the soup, cilantro leaves and coconut while you fry the fritters.  When you’re ready to serve return the soup to a simmer. Arrange a few fritters in each soup bowl, pour in the soup and top with coconut and cilantro leaves. Serve and share!


Join us on May 14th, 2014 for a Twitter Party with Chef Michael Smith #LentilHunter. Find out why Canadian Lentils are one of the healthiest, tastiest options you can make for your family. RSVP‘s are required for the #LentilHunter Twitter Party. You can get all of the details and register at the . Tell your friends and get your questions ready for the #LentilHunter. See you there!!