Amaranth with Red Lentils

Red Lentils (Photo by molamoni/flickr
Red Lentils (Photo by molamoni/flickr

Serves 6.


125 g/4 oz/2 cups green amaranth leaves
300 g/10 oz/1 1/2 cups red lentils
500 ml/1 pint/2 cups thin coconut milk
1 dried red chilli
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons pounded Maldive fish
1 tablespoon oil
sprig of fresh curry leaves
strip of fresh or dried pandan leaf
1 onion, finely sliced
1 small cinnamon quill
lower portion of stem of lemon grass, bruised salt to taste
3 tablespoons thick coconut milk


Wash amaranth, pick the leaves and put into a saucepan. Pick over red lentils, discarding any small stones. Wash lentils in several changes of water, drain, and add to saucepan with thin coconut milk. This could be canned coconut milk diluted with water if it is thick and rich. Discard stalk and seeds of chilli, break the chilli into pieces and add to pan with turmeric and Maldive fish. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until lentils are soft and like thick soup. Add a little extra water if necessary.

In another pan heat the oil and fry curry leaves, pandan leaf, sliced onion, cinnamon and lemon grass, stirring frequently, until onion starts to colour. Add contents of first saucepan, stir in thick coconut milk and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Serve with rice.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)