Indian Spiced Prawn, Fennel & Puy Lentils

Things have changed a lot at the dinner table from when I was growing up. Familiar, everyday scents of earthy, warm spices, have been exchanged for aromatic, fragrant herbs. Even the sounds are new; the quiet thud of fingertips, bringing together morsels of food from the plate to mouth, fade into memory. Now it’s the clinking or screeching (courtesy of the kids) of stainless steel edges against ceramic.That’s another major introduction; I have cutlery on mine! It has its merits but it means that I have sacrificed teaching the kids how to eat with their hands. It is, by no means, a bad change. Just different.

I do try to bring the two opposing directions together through the means of a saucepan. Or rather its contents. My family would not willingly sit to a spice rich meal every day and I, to be honest, would not want to be tied to the stove everyday making it either. More often than not, I just want a hint, a reminder of those familiar scents, sounds and tastes. That longing got me thinking and this recipe is what I came up with after a rummage through the fridge. I am not trying fusion style grub, just a comforting plate of food that’s tasty, a little bit different and good to eat. I don’t ask for too much. Well, not all of the time!

I tend to make something like this when the kids are tucked up in bed and TheScotsman and I can have a quiet bite together, watching telly and/or chatting. It doesn’t demand too much of me and a lot of it can be made in advance. This constitutes store-cupboard food, as lentils and spices are always in the pantry and a packet of prawns are ready-to-go in the freezer.

The french puy lentils are probably my favourite. Use any firm lentil of your choice, providing it keeps its shape after cooking. I always, always flavour the water they boil in with a heap of whole spices. I do not mind crunching on them in the finished dish; I love that burst of concentrated flavour. But, if biting on a coriander seed, albeit softened, is not for you, tie them in a muslin cloth and fish it out later.

Another flavour layer comes fennel, all jade green and frond topped and is a new, after-marriage, happy addition to my pans . It shares its flavour with abandon and is robust enough to take on strong spices. Like a lot of things with strong personalities, a little goes a long way. Cooked slowly until tender, mixed through with the onion and spice masala, the hard aniseed flavour mellows and sweetens and gives a welcome soft crunch against the nubblier lentils. Lastly, I dusted the prawns with spices, and finished them off in the pan, after the fennel and lentils were done, and then brought everything together. Squeeze in some lime to perk it up and throw over a carpet of fresh coriander. You’re done.

In a way, I reach home with this recipe; the home I have now and the one I came from.

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14 thoughts on “Indian Spiced Prawn, Fennel & Puy Lentils

  1. jobakes

    Carrie I just love that plate! For me, this would be the definitive Mrs PP patterned plate. I have a feeling I’ve seen it before but oh my, how well it showcases this yummy dinner dish. I’m into put lentils but Hungry Hubby dislikes them :(. That being said, it’s been a long time since we had them, perhaps this is the dish to change his mind!

    1. thePatternedPlate

      I love this plate too! I got a whole load from Zara home, including the purple one similar to this thats on the Choccie Melts post….love and adore them!

      TheScotsman isn’t very into lentils either. I think its a textural issue. However, if I spice it up and make it really flavourful then yes, he eats it with pleasure then. Plus he loves prawns. You could say this recipe was inspired by his tastes and my background LOL

  2. Thanh @ eat, little bird

    What stunning photos!!! I absolutely adore lentils but have never eaten them spiced like in your recipe. I can only imagine how delicious they would be! I would love to give this a try. Both hubby and I love lentils and I cook with it fairly often.

  3. Savorique

    Haa! The lentiles du Puy… I make a mean soup with them. I have to try this spicy prawn-lentils dish for sure, this combo is original.
    It would be great to see a summary of preparation and cooking times involved in this meal.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. thePatternedPlate

      Hi! Thankyou for posting. I have never thought of adding cooking times, I will consider that suggestion ;-). This meal takes about 10 minutes of prep for me for chopping the veg. Actual cooking would take around 20-30 minutes I would think..But I will make a note of timings henceforth when I do cook.

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