Horse Gram is one of our more recent discoveries. Well known and used in rural India, it has not found its way into other cuisines. You will need to buy it at your local Indian grocer, or perhaps online.
It is a special lentil, full of protein, and will hold its shape well when cooked. This makes it ideal for salads. Its earthy tastes makes it pair well with ingredients like beetroot, walnuts and pomegranate molasses. It contrasts well with crisp greens and mild acidic or sharp tastes like onion, sumac, rocket, baby spinach, lemon, and preserved lemon.
In today’s salad we use the sharpness of feta, onion and vinegar, the beautiful flavour of semi dried tomatoes, and pomegranate molasses in this salad. Do search your Indian grocery for this lovely lentil. You can also use Matki (moth beans) instead, or use a mix of both.
The recipe douses the lentils with vinegar, onion, salt, pepper, garlic and oil as soon as they are cooked. When warm, they soak in the flavours and aromas properly. Feta, lots of herbs and semi dried tomatoes are mixed in at the end. The result in such a bang of wonderful flavours.
Read more about Horse Gram (aks Kulthi Bean). It is easily purchased in Indian shops.
I have used a combination of horse gram and moth beans in this pic.
Horse Gram Lentils with Tomatoes and Feta
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 Tblspn good-quality red wine vinegar
1 Tblspn sea salt
250g Horse Gram lentils (or use Matki–Moth Beans–or a mixture of both), soaked overnight
3 Tblspn olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 Tblspn chopped parsley
3 Tblspn chopped chives
4 Tblspn chopped dill
1 Tblspn pomegranate syrup, thick balsamic syrup or 1 tspn sumac (optional)
80g feta cheese, cut into rough chunks
oven semi-dried tomatoes
400g plum tomatoes (about 5) quartered vertically, or use 400g cherry tomatoes, halved
8 thyme sprigs
1 Tblspn olive oil
Place the lentils in a pan of boiling water (the water should come 3cm above the lentils) and cook for about 1 hr or until tender but still retaining their shape.
Cook the tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 130°C. Place the tomatoes skin-side down on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Arrange the thyme sprigs on top. Drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 1.5 hours or until semi dried. Discard the thyme and allow to cool down slightly.
Meanwhile, place the red onion in a medium bowl, pour over the vinegar and sprinkle with the sea salt. Stir, then leave for a few minutes so the onion softens a little.
Drain the lentils well when they are cooked and, while still warm, add to the onion. Also add the olive oil, pomegranate molasses, garlic and some black pepper to taste. Stir to mix and leave to cool. Then add the herbs and gently mix together. Taste and adjust seasoning.
To serve, pile up the lentils on a large plate or bowl, integrating the feta and tomatoes as you build up the pile. Drizzle the tomato cooking juices on top and serve.
This is a substantial dish which is best eaten at room temperature.
You might like to try a creamy Gorgonzola cheese in place of feta.