Persian lentils vs. Indian lentils

I had imagined that for my parents-in-law arriving today that I would prepare a Persian themed meal for them, and so I picked up just over two pounds of New Zealand lamb loin chops while they were on sale at Whole Foods this week. Well, apparently I didn’t think this through and thought two pounds of meat would be more than enough for the four of us… but I didn’t factor in that the weight was mostly in the bones. So I had to think of another protein that would fit my Persian theme. Since my pantry is filled with so many different types of legumes, I decided upon a Persian lentil stew that seemed fairly straightforward and easy to make.

The funny thing about this as I studied the recipe is that Persian lentils are prepared very much the same way that Indian lentils can be prepared; the only major difference seemed to be in the fact that in the Indian lentils I am used to making, there’s always ginger and hing, whereas in this Persian recipe, there’s no ginger or hing, and cinnamon is added at the end. It actually gives a slight sweet and pleasantly spicy note to the lentils that I’d never thought would work before, but I really enjoyed. I could completely see how this could be Persian comfort food in its simplest form.

I showed the lentils to Chris, and he said, “That’s Indian.” I responded, “No, it’s Persian.” To which he responded again, “Same shit.” I guess it kind of is. Persians and Indians and Pakistanis were once one people, and now they’re different… but the spices they use are pretty much the same.


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