I knew I was going to cook lentils for dinner but wasn’t exactly sure how because I had never cooked lentils before. Printed on the package of the dried lentils was a recipe that looked interesting. Lentils, split chickpeas, meat, saba bananas and cabbage soup. That made deciding easier. But I wasn’t going to make a soup; I wanted a stew. It was a sort of dry run. I was learning about lentils so I could use them for Sam’s vegetarian meals. But I can’t serve lentils to her until I’m sure that I can cook them properly and they taste good. So, I made a stew — with lechon kawali cooked the easy way — for Speedy and myself tonight.
In cooking the stew, I leaned a few things about lentils:
1. Lentils cook faster than chickpeas.
2. Too much stirring can turn lentils into a mush.
3. When cooked properly, lentils are soft and creamy and absolutely delicious.
The amount of lentils and split chickpeas in the following recipe is totally adjustable. You can use more lentils than chickpeas or vice versa, you can double the amount so that you have more legumes than meat, or you can even omit the meat. It’s up to you. Personally, I think the lechon kawali made the stew more delicious.
I cooked this stew in the pressure cooker. If you cook it without a pressure cooker, the total cooking time for the lentils and split chickpeas will be about twice as long. Note that they will swell and double in volume during cooking.
Recipe: Lentils and split chickpeas stew
- 2 tbsps. of vegetable cooking oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 c. of meat broth, preferably homemade
- 1/3 c. of dried split chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 c. of dried lentils, rinsed and drained
- 2 c. of chopped lechon kawali
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 saba bananas, diced
- a bunch of Chinese cabbage (native pechay or bok choy are good choices), cut into two-inch lengths, stalks and leaves separated
- 1/2 c. of coconut cream (fresh, canned or powdered)
- Heat the vegetable oil in the pressure cooker. Saute the onion and garlic just until fragrant.
- Pour in the meat broth. Add the split chickpeas. Lock in the pressure cooker lid. Cook the split chickpeas for about 45 minutes after the valve starts to turn.
- Turn off the stove and leave until the pressure dissipates. Unlock the pressure cooker. Taste the broth. Add salt and pepper, as needed.
- Add the lentils to the split chickpeas. Lock in the pressure cooker lid once more and continue cooking for 15 minutes after the valve starts to turn.
- Turn off the heat. Wait a few minutes for the pressure to die down then open the pressure cooker. Add the pork. Adjust the seasonings, if needed. Simmer for 15 minutes — just cover the pot with its lid without locking.
- Stir in the diced saba bananas. Simmer for five minutes.
- Add the cabbage stalks and simmer for three minutes.
- Pour in the coconut cream. Add the cabbage leaves. Stir. Taste. Add salt and pepper, if needed. Simmer for another five minutes.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4