Reshta is the West Beqaa answer for what to serve for Good Friday’s lunch: large homemade noodles in a thick lentil stew. Lentils are a Good Friday staple, and are said to represent Christ’s tears. Reshta is a word, and a dish, found in cuisines from central Asia to Iran to the Middle East and even Algeria, where the dish becomes one of vermicelli noodles, which accompanies meat or chicken.
- 1 cup (192 g) lentils
- 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (100 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 large yellow onions
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Kamal Mouzawak
Place the lentils in a large pot, cover with about 2 inches of water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer the lentils for 30 minutes. (The water should be over the lentils by a depth of 4 fingers, so that there is enough to soak and cook the noodles later on.)
Meanwhile, prepare the noodle dough by mixing the flour in a bowl with just enough water and a pinch of salt to obtain an elastic bread dough. Let it rest, covered in a warm spot, for 30 minutes.
While the dough rests, finely chop the onions. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and sauté the onions until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add to the cooked lentils.
Roll the dough out into a thin sheet, and cut 1/3-inch-wide (1-cm) noodle bands from it. Bring the lentil mixture back to a boil, then drop the noodles into the boiling lentils, one after the other so they do not stick. Let boil for 10 minutes to cook the noodles.
Crush the garlic and add to the pot, along with the mint and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt. The final consistency of the stew should be neither thin and soupy nor too thick, but somewhere in between. Serve hot.