Yet another hummus? Quite close, but this time the inspiration of this recipe is closer the the Indian chutneys. An easy and versatile dip and a perfect way to use up the luscious summer tomatoes.
My yard is faring sorrowfully this year. I had been able to keep the bunnies away last year. The vegetable patch had been secured by a fence. But this year our little friends got smarter and are finding their ways inside to munch away on every single new leaf that appears on a tender stalk. They won’t eat anything with strong flavors but a whole bunch of tomato plants are GONE overnight. Don’t get me wrong, for we love these bunnies. They are too cute esp. when the little ones sit around with their ears perked and lovely pit pattering eyes. But why they would take all the trouble to sneak in through a fence when the yard is full of soft green grass is beyond me. My dreams of picking lovely red tomatoes are ruined. But we have the farmers market selling tomatoes for as low as sixty cents a pound. That should make me happy, right? It does but with a pang.
The quick savory chutneys of this kind with lentils are very popular in the western and southern parts of India. I haven’t used many spices here like the usual. What I love is the use of lentils which makes it healthy and at the same time adds a different crunch and consistency to the dips and chutneys. Not a very far cry from hummus and the innumerable variation, this dip is open to whatever flavor you might want in it. This time I went by the Indian herb and there happens to be other times when I change the herbs to fresh basil or rosemary to have a dip with completely different flavors.
Roasted Tomato and Lentil Dip
- 1/2 cup chana dal/bengal gram/cholar dal (Split and husked black chickpea)
- 3 tomatoes
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1.5 teaspoons oil + 1/2 teaspoon oil.
- 2 red dry chili pepper or 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (or adjust amount as per your taste)
- 1 /2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- a fistful of your favorite fresh herbs (I used Curry Patta/Fresh Curry Leaves) – I love Rosemary too.
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice, if you want a light tang
- some extra virgin olive oil or hot chili oil
Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a skillet and lightly roast the lentils till they are golden and just starting to have spots on them. Set aside.
Combine 1.5 teaspoons oil, garlic and the red dry chili/flakes and let them heat up together.
If you are going to roast/broil the tomatoes in the oven, half the tomatoes and drizzle this oil on the tomatoes and broil/roast till the tomatoes are cooked through and the juice starts to get thick. (at 380 degree F for about 30-40 minutes)
you can place the tomato halves on the skillet on the stove top and skillet roast them at high heat till the tomatoes char on the outside and are mushy and the juice starts to get thick; I find roasting them in the skillet quicker than the oven method.
Remove the charred skin of the tomatoes.
Add the black pepper, salt and the herbs to the warm tomatoes, cover for about 10 minutes.
Add the lentils and the tomatoes and herbs in the processor/blender and process till almost smooth. I leave my slightly grainy as you can see from the picture, but it is to your personal preference.
Add a glug of the evoo or the chili oil and lemon juice; stir in.
Serve with you crackers,crusty bread, veggies, flat bread… anything you want. I use this as a spread for my sandwiches or wraps and also with the Indian menu of lentil crepes and steamed/baked savory cakes.
The way I love to have it is to spread a nice thick layer on a crusty bread.