Green lentils and baoutha are not synonymous. But lentils happen to be a common food that Chaldeans eat during baoutha. You’re probably wondering what is baoutha?? Simply put, it’s three days of fasting in the Chaldean and Syriac Churches. It’s typically celebrated three weeks before the commencement of Lent and Ash Wednesday. The fast commemorates the miraculous end to a plague that broke out in the regions of Beth Garmay, Ator, and Nineveh, which comprise present day Northern Iraq.
Well, for these three days, meat, dairy, sweets…etc are pretty much off the menu (good thing all the tiramisu cupcakes have been eaten!). Thlokeh, or red lentil soup, is one of my favorite soups, but I had already eaten it for lunch today. But I was on a lentil kick, so I decided to make some green lentils. And since it’s absolutely frigid outside (we’re taking -20 with the wind chill), I decided to add turmeric for a cold fighting boost. One thing that I absolutely love about green lentils is how creamy they get when cooked. Yes, they do take a while to cook. But it’s well worth the wait!
The lentils that I used called for 3 cups of water for every 1 cup of lentils, but I felt that they needed more water to reach the point of tenderness that I enjoy. I ended up using 6 cups of water for 1 cup of lentils. The brand of lentils was Ziyad.
1 cup green lentils
6 cups vegetable stock (or water)
1 cup spinach
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper (or cayenne, something for a little kick!)
In a pot, bring 6 cups of stock to a boil. Add the lentils. Let the lentils cook on medium-high heat, until almost all of the water has cooked away, and the lentils have become tender, and creamy.
In a separate pan, sautée the green pepper and then the tomatoes. Add the green pepper first, and let it cook for about 5 minutes before adding the tomatoes.
Once the lentils have finished cooking, add the turmeric, cumin, and red pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the spinach, and sautéed vegetables. Stir until the spinach has wilted.