One of my first meals here in Panama was at a restaurant called Beirut, which specialises in middle eastern food but does have a few Panamanian specialties on the menu. Their version of this Sopa de Lentejas absolutely blew me away; so simple, but so refreshing and filling too.
When my friend’s cook served this up to me one day after that, I realised that this was something of a Panamanian staple – and hers was better than the one in Beirut!
When I did some research into this dish, I found that it is not just restricted to kitchens in Panama; Colombians also have a lot of love for the lentils, albeit with a few additions to make this soup their own.
Having made both and created some adjustments to my particular taste, I’ve brought the two together into this recipe, which still tends towards the Colombian side slightly more than the Panamanian. Best of all, it’s incredibly cheap, incredibly quick and incredibly easy to make. Enjoy!
1 white onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups green lentils
1 sweet potato, chopped into small chunks / slices
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tomato, diced
black pepper and salt to taste
a little oil
Fry the onion, sweet potato, tomato and garlic in a little oil, stir well, and season with the cumin, black pepper and salt
Cook for 6-7 minutes, then add in the green lentil and stir well again
Add the water into the pan and allow to come to a boil
Reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for around 35 minutes, until the lentils are cooked but haven’t turned to mush
Serve and then squeeze a little lime juice on top
Lentils are amazing for just about everything, when you’re vegetarian; from iron intake to protein. Plus they’re very easy to use and crop up in a diverse range of dishes.
This is one of my new favourite meals; I’ve made it about 5 times in the last 2 weeks. It’s just so damn cheap! And so good!