5 Ingredients or Fewer

Sabrina Ghayour's Persian "Adassi" Lentil Stew

February  2, 2017
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Adapted from Sirocco by Sabrina Ghayour (Clarkson Potter, 2015). Here's what Ghayour says of the recipe:

“This is a hearty dish that we Iranians enjoy in the cold and snowy winters of Iran, although I first ate it in Switzerland when my aunty Nini cooked it for me. Her version, which I have been cooking for more than 20 years, is another great one-pot dish. (It differs in that the curry powder is slightly different.) The amount of flavor, considering how few ingredients are involved, always surprises me. It gets better and better the longer you keep it, as the flavors intensify. You can eat it as a soup, or make it thicker for a stew. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy."

She has you mix the tomato paste, curry powder, and salt with a bit of water, but I found the stew more flavorful without it. —Ali Slagle

What You'll Need
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/3 cups Le Puy lentils
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 heaping tablespoons medium curry powder
  • Flaky sea salt
  • 1 1/2 quarts (or so) hot water from a kettle
  1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and fry the onion until translucent. Add the lentils and stir for 1 minute, then stir in the tomato paste and curry powder, and season with salt. Stir well for about a minute, until the ingredients are evenly mixed and fragrant.
  2. Then, in stages, stir in a few ladlefuls of hot water at a time, stirring well and allowing each ladleful of water to be thoroughly absorbed by the lentils before adding the next. Once all the water has been absorbed, taste the lentils to check you are happy with the texture and that they are cooked thoroughly. If not, add another ladleful or two of water.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Camilla Rostin
    Camilla Rostin
  • AntoniaJames
  • Nomnomnom
  • Lindsay

10 Reviews

Camilla R. April 30, 2018
Hi there! AMAZING, I absolutely loved this lentils... I used the canned ones (...ops...) ad I also added 1 eggplant that was alone in the fridge + 1 splash of coconut milk instead of oil...thank you very much for sharing...meal prep is done for these week!
Nomnomnom March 4, 2018
Just made this for dinner and it was a change from my standard lentil game. I toned down the curry powder, but might add the full amount next time. I added a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice at the end, and was happy with that.
Lindsay March 3, 2017
Can you freeze cooked lentils?
AnneHD February 28, 2017
Great effort/reward ratio! We had it with a side of baked beets plus a minty salsa verde. It was a delicious meal; thank you for the recipe!
Ghazzzit February 20, 2017
This came out deliciously - thank you! A really nice Persian stew where meat isn't the focal point - unintentionally vegan even!

I was rather flexible on the ingredient proportions (about 2 cups de puy lentils and an entire 6oz can of tomato paste), and out of curry powder so used a combo of turmeric, paprika, garam masala and a little ground chile pepper. Mine had a much stronger tomato base than the photo and taste-wise ended up like many Persian stews - comforting, melded flavors without too much of a kick in any direction.
AntoniaJames February 14, 2017
I found this a bit flat - and frankly, underwhelming -- until I added a good splash of vinegar just before serving, which I highly recommend. ;o)
Lemoni February 26, 2017
Would you make it again (with vinegar splash)?
rparagus February 12, 2017
Can you use red lentils?
AntoniaJames February 14, 2017
You could, but it will be very different. The red lentils will break down so it will be quite soupy, or perhaps like a rough puree. You'd also need to add a lot more water as you go along, if you want to simmer it long enough to meld the flavors. I recommend getting some brown lentils if you can't get the green French ones, because the texture of the sturdier lentils, and their stronger flavor, will produce better results. ;o)
rparagus February 14, 2017
Thanks! Someone just gave me a bunch of red lentils so i figured i would ask😊