I asked TT what exactly piyaz means as my concept of piyaz is the white beans/fasulye with hard-boiled egg, onion, a little parsley, and tomato. It’s a national favourite often served with kuru köfte. He said that to any Turk, this is what it means.
But here we have another piyaz, this time the main ingredient is green lentils or mercimek! TT scoffed and said it was a bastardization of the real thing!
What do I know? I know that I love lentils and have been using them in salads for ages not knowing there is a Real Recipe out there for Mercimek Piyazı which I stumbled upon in Özcan Ozan‘s The Sultan’s Kitchen.
Now, lentils are not really allowed on our Dukan but we have been getting a little bored with all that yogurt and protein so I thought this piyaz would perk us up.
Well, it did the trick. It’s delicious, healthy and easy to make. All you have to remember is to wash and soak your lentils overnight in cold water (which is something the recipe doesn’t actually say: it definitely aids digestion if you do this). It looks good too: don’t put this salad in a bowl but rather spoon it onto a shallow dish, Turkish-style and you will see how appetizing it looks!
The ingredients are: green lentils with spring onions, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, mint, seasoned with ground cumin, flaked red pepper and salt and pepper. The dressing includes both vinegar as in the bean piyaz AND also lemon juice with olive oil. (Turkish salads usually use only lemon juice).
|lovely greens to add to the piyaz|
Below are the amounts as given in Özcan’s recipe but frankly, I suggest you add however much of each as you like according to how you like it. Nothing dire will happen if you increase any of these ingredients. I myself increased the garlic, parsley and mint. Next time I will increase the amount of cumin and flaked red pepper, especially the cumin as it goes so well with lentils. Try it in lentil soup too.
- Drain the lentils, rinse and place in a saucepan with 2 1/2 cups cold water.
- Bring to the boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 35 minutes or until lentils are tender.
- Don’t overcook as the lentils will disintegrate!
- Place lentils in a large bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and toss well. Cover and set aside. Serve at room temperature.
|having added the seasonings and spices while still warm|
|trim away all those hairy bits|