Mixed lentils with five-spice seasoning

¼ cup red split lentils
¾ cup skinless split mung beans
3½ cups hot water
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp black mustard seeds
¼ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp nigella seeds
¼ tsp fennel seeds
4–5 fenugreek seeds
2–3 dried red chiles
1 small tomato, seeded and cut into strips and fresh cilantro sprigs, to garnish
flat bread, to serve


1. Mix both types of lentils together and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear. Place the lentils in a saucepan with the hot water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly. Let it boil for 5–6 minutes, and when the foam subsides, add the turmeric, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Add the salt and lemon juice and beat the lentils with a wire beater. Add a little more hot water if the lentils are too thick.
2. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When hot, but not smoking, add the mustard seeds. As soon as they begin to pop, reduce the heat to low and add the cumin seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, and dried chiles. Let the spices sizzle until the seeds begin to pop and the chiles have blackened.
3. Pour the contents of the saucepan over the lentils, scraping off every bit from the saucepan. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with tomato strips and cilantro sprigs. Serve with flat bread.

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