Electric Lunchbox #36: Mama Tuca’s Lentils

My mother-in-law is a wonderful cook! Lucky for me, she is always more than happy to teach me how to prepare Peruvian food whether in her kitchen in Lima, or mine in Orange County. She is very kind and gentle but strong and determined. She likes to go out on her own, fearless, and discover places. I grew up more sheltered, more scared, careful of the outside world. I remember once when she was vacationing here in the US, my husband and I came home from work and she was gone…we had to go and drive our cars to look for her all over our city. I found her walking by Trader Joes, arms full of grocery bags with treasures she found to make a meal. She is good at substituting and making a new dishes.

When we were in Peru, breakfast is usually turkey, cheese, ham sandwich, with fruit juice and my essential, coffee. Lunch is the biggest meal, and she would always prepare a salad to go with it. Everything tasted really good. This is one of those recipes. Healthy and easy to make, it quickly became a staple as both my husband and my son likes it.

I adapted it to the ELB, substituting garlic and onion powder for the real thing as we will not be sautéing it. If you have a red bell pepper and aji amarillo, please use that instead of the paprika and turmeric I used. I just used those as it is something we are all familiar with and probably have in our pantry already. When mama Tuca made this, she used pork, but I had used beef, and chicken when I’m too lazy to go to the store.

Please remember to soak the lentils, preferably overnight. We are using raw lentils as they cook faster than regular beans, but soaking helps it along.

I hope you like this recipe. I’m sure my family does!

Follow me for more recipes for the Itaki! See Itaki’s offerings here! https://www.itakico.com/

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny Itaki cup, unless specified.*

1/2 cup lentils, soaked at least 1 hour, up to overnight

1 cup water, for cooking

1 teaspoon oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika powder (or 1/4 red bell pepper, pureed)

50 – 60 grams cubed pork or chicken, or ground beef

1 small potato, peeled and cubed

120 ml water (for steaming)

Drain the lentils after soaking. Transfer to the big bottom bowl of the ELB. Add all ingredients and stir to mix. Place in the ELB base.

Add the water for steaming to the base. Cover the ELB snd let steam until done, about an hour. Check lentils and meat for doneness , adding more water to the base and steaming longer, if necessary.

Serve hot, over rice (can make some in the little nesting bowl at the same time!).

My husband usually asks for a fried egg on top of the lentils. I like it this way to so I happily fry some eggs to serve with this dish.

If you have a jumbo, make lentils in the bottom bowl, poached egg in the small nesting bowl, and rice in the top medium bowl! Perfect meal!

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