If you are what you eat, I’m a lentil

The other day I was craving lentils. What? I know, for a girl with a blog that espouses the beauty of all things delicious, especially when cased in sausage form, this is a little strange. It was all I could think about. The cookbooks looked at me forlornly–”The Whole Beast”, “Meat”, and “Fat” sat unopened. I had a one track mind and that track was lentils. And the woman responsible for that craving?

Gillian McKeith

This woman. “Dr.” Gillian McKeith. What’s with the quotes? Well, she’s a little controversial. Is she a doctor or not? I don’t really care, Wikipedia will tell you the story. I just love her TV show, “You are What you Eat” shows here on BBC America. The shows are really rather repetitive, but I love all the elements and never tire of watching the episodes.

Here’s the show, in summary for those of you without cable: First the morbidly fat person shovels food into face, then they’re told they’re going to die. Gillian inspects tongues and poop (windows to the organs) and criticizes. Mostly uses the word ‘poo’ which I love. Especially when she talks about “Floaty Poo”. Sometimes it is one person, on other episodes whole families are featured. A table is loaded down with their weekly consumption. It is what we call a “hot mess.” The only color I’ve ever seen in these things is potato chip bags (I’m sorry, crisp wrappers). Then they get shown their new diet weekly consumption. Oh, it’s beautiful. Vegetables, fresh and bright, whole fish and bean stews. Here’s the money shot. The look of horror as the person realizes they may have to eat a bite of… dare I say it… Quinoa! Um, I love quinoa. Does that make me crazy? To boot, they use fun British words and measure everything in “stones,” which I clearly had to Google immediately after getting hooked. It’s 14 pounds. It’s a very fun show and I would recommend watching an episode or two if you get the channel. You’ll start to think about your own diet pretty carefully. My diet is definitely not something Ms. McKeith would approve of, though it certainly isn’t one of the tables of the enormous fry-fests from the show either. However, watching the show constantly reminds me of just how much I love certain foods that are also extremely healthy. Which is how I came to be craving lentils. For any of you similarly inspired, here’s my personal favorite lentil recipe, which I made this week. I would share a photo with you, but I was too busy shoveling it down my cakehole like it was French fries and I was on the beginning of an episode of You are What You Eat.

Masoor Dahl
1 pound Red Lentils
1 White onion, chopped
1 Jalapeño sliced thinly
1 Tbsp. Ghee, N’ter Kibe, clarified butter or any oil
1 Tbsp. Garam Masala
1 Tbsp. Curry Powder
Water
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro for garnish

Sauté onions and jalapeño in your fat of choice in a medium saucepan. I adapted this recipe from a Bengali friend of mine, he used ghee. I live in a neighborhood full of Ethiopian shops, so I had n’ter kibe on hand, otherwise clarified butter or really any oil will do. When they just get translucent, add the lentils and give a shake so they get a little heat and fat as well. Add enough water to cover the lentils by a fair bit (similar to the amount of water you would add for the same amount of rice), and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and and cover. Just like making rice, except you want to stir occasionally. When it is almost done, add the spices. When all the water is absorbed and the whole thing is kind of a mush, serve it up and garnish with cilantro. This will serve 3 people as a main dish or 5 as a side dish.