Considering how much I like Donna Hay's recipes, you'd think that I'd have more then just one of her cookbooks. But I don't. The book New Food Fast was the first cookbook I ever bought and has been my go-to resource ever since. With this year marking our 10 year anniversary - since I took the leap and decided I wanted to (one day) be a great cook and since the book's publication - this just might be the occasion to give another one of her books a try.
One of the reasons I like this recipe so much is the bed of green beans (or string beans) that the kaffir leaf and chili lentils rest on. I just love eating green beans and when I've had too much of them I switch to asparagus. Not a bad alternative at all.
Amount to Buy
One pound of green beans will generally serve two or three people. When buying beans, look for beans that are clean, fresh-looking and firm.
In the Fall 2009 issue of Taste magazine, there's an interview with Vancouver Chef Rob Feenie, where he offers up his top five tips for serious home chefs. I'm sure it's no coincidence that his first tip is about the importance of blanching:
It's important to blanch vegetables. The vegetables will turn a brilliant colour
and keep their crunch. Blanching is simply parboiling vegetables (or herbs),
then cooling them as quickly as possible in an ice bath.
So exactly how do you blanch green beans? In a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water, toss in the beans and quickly boil them either until tender or until almost tender, still with a slight crunchiness, about two to five minutes. Drain immediately and place in a bowl (or the sink) of cold water and ice cubes. This essential step stops the beans from cooking and locks in the colour, produces a fresh tasting and beautiful looking bean.
Lime Leaf and Chili Lentils (serves 4)
recipe from Donna Hay's New Fast Food
1 tablespoon oil
4 medium red chillies, diced
2 tablespoons grated ginger
5 kaffir leaves, shredded
1 1/2 cups red lentils
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock (my favorite store bought stock is Pacific Organics)
1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
steamed green beans
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the chillies, ginger and kaffir lime leaves and cook for one minute. Add the lentils and stock to the pan, cook for about 15 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.
Place the steamed green beans on a plate or serving bowl. Top with basil and cilantro and then the lentils. Enjoy.