I woke up craving poached eggs. With lentils. And with all of this wind blowing in Cape Town, I wanted something comforting and spicy for breakfast. The wind is absolutely insane over here. And apparently I haven’t seen anything yet – this is just the beginning of the wild winds that blow throughout the summer season in the Western Cape. They call this southeasterly wind the “Cape Doctor” because it blows in from False Bay through Cape Town, sweeping away pollution and bringing fresh, clean sea air across the city. It’s a kite surfer’s dream, but it’s a little spooky. Especially at night, when big shadows of palm trees sway across the living room wall and that sound: a howling like it’s coming from a despondent African spirit woken from the depths of the earth and ocean. Like it’s trying to tell us something! It’s unsettling, this wind.
But back to breakfast… This is a great dish, and super nutritious, that can be prepared with whatever spices/herbs you are in the mood for. I went with eastern flavours this time (coriander, chilli, lime), but I’ve also made this using rosemary, parsley and red wine vinegar, which is more traditional and French-inspired. Both ways are lovely, healthy and packed with protein. Lentils are also a great source of iron, vitamin B, and fibre.
I’ve been adding lentils to salads lately, and loving the flavour and texture they add. It seems I’ve been leaning towards a vegetarian diet these days, something my boyfriend would not be too thrilled about… Luckily I can distract him with super tasty and flavourful dishes using lentils! Oh, and he can add bacon on the side. Lentils and bacon love each other.
Poached Eggs on Spicy Lentils
1 can lentils
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 red chilli
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp tikka paste*
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp allspice
½ cup water
handful kale or spinach, chopped
basil & coriander leaves, for serving
organic Greek yogurt, for serving
4 free-range eggs
*If you don’t have tikka paste, you can use any curry paste or curry powder on hand. This dish is also delicious with more western flavours, such as rosemary, parsley, and paprika.
Heat butter in a pan. Chop carrots, onion, garlic and chilli in a food processor (or by hand) and add to the pan. Cook for 5-10 minutes and then add the lentils, spices, tikka paste, tomato paste and water. Stir in the kale (or spinach) and let simmer while you prepare the eggs.
For perfectly poached eggs: bring water to a boil in a small pot, add a teaspoon of vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar, but any will work). Lower the heat so that the water is boiling softly. Crack one egg at a time into a ramekin or small bowl and gently tip it into the water. Once all eggs are in the pot, set a timer for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, remove the eggs carefully with a slotted spoon and serve immediately.
To serve, squeeze lime juice over the lentils and spoon into bowls. Top with poached eggs, chopped herbs, salt and pepper, and a dollop of Greek yogurt.