Another version of taro potato is made with lentils. As in so many cases, there are the two camps of preference: those who cook it with tahini, and those who cook it without. The combination of taro and lentils is very earthy, and made refreshing by the acidity sumac water … all mountain ingredients and tastes!
Sumac water does not mean sumac powder diluted in water. The purists prefer not to grind sumac (a grinder is not an easy utensil to find in a simple mountain kitchen). Instead, they keep it as it comes, in whole berries, and soak the whole berries overnight in just enough water to cover. The next day, they rub the berries well in the water, and so the result is a very deep velvet red water with a tangy sumac taste. However, you aren’t likely to find sumac berries available commercially, so you will have to replace them with a good-quality sumac powder!
- 2 1/4 pounds (1 kg) taro root
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 5 medium yellow onions
- 5 tablespoons (75 ml) olive oil
- 1 cup (192 g) small brown lentils
- 2 to 4 tablespoons (12 to 24 g) ground sumac
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 bunch mint or 2 tablespoons (3 g) dried mint
- Kamal Mouzawak
Peel the taro root (wearing plastic kitchen gloves), and cut into big chunks. Wash well, drain, and pat dry. Heat a deep pot or deep fryer with several inches of vegetable oil, and deep-fry the taro until light golden. Drain on paper towels.
Cut the onions into thin slices. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions until they start to color, about 15 minutes. Add the lentils and 1 cup (235 ml) water, and let cook over low heat. Lentils are quick to cook and will take less than 30 minutes.
When the lentils are cooked, add the fried taro and the sumac, and let cook for 30 minutes.
Crush the garlic cloves into a paste with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, add the fresh or dried mint and crush again, and add to the taro and lentils. Season to taste with salt and let it all cook for 5 minutes longer. Serve warm.