Oh, the humble lentil. So small yet so packed with energy and other great things. But also, we're sorry to say, a little bland too. Take classic lentil soup for example. Sure it's tasty and warming, but it's hardly going to set any hearts racing with excitement.
Luckily, there are lots more thrilling ways to enjoy lentils whether you're ordering in from one of Melbourne's many Lebanese takeaways or just want a good, spicy curry. And because the lentil is such a humble, unassuming ingredient, it's brilliant at both absorbing other flavours and adding richness to any dish it's used in. And no, it's not just a vegetarian staple as the first of the four great dishes we've picked for you will prove.
1. Lamb and Lentil Filo Triangles - Kamel
At Kamel, the team specialises in North African delicacies and few are more typical of the cuisine than these tasty little parcels. Minced lamb's spiced with typical flavours of the region and mixed with lentils before being wrapped in layer upon layer of fine filo pastry. They're a flaky and intensely savoury treat that is made even more delicious if you enjoy it with a side of yoghurt too. They also a great snack to share along with all the other appetisers on the Kamel menu.
2. Milagaipodi Masala Dosa - Saravana Bhavan
You'll get a double dose of lentils in the Milagaipodi Masala Dosa from Saravana Bhavan. That's because these fine pancakes aren't just filled with them, they're made of them: rice and lentil flours are used to make the healthy, vegan batter. Other ingredients that go into the filling include softly boiled potatoes, fried onions and sesame seeds not to mention a good pinch of chilli. This is just one of a wide range of dosas you can enjoy. Others have fillings including cheese and chutney to name but two – and they're all mouth wateringly delicious.
3. Dahi Vada - Delhi Streets
Just as you'd expect from the name, Delhi Streets has brought the very best of the subcontinent's street foods to Melbourne. With snacks and dishes designed to be eaten on the go, it's also all about packing in the flavour too. Dahi Vada is a fantastic example of this in action. Super light lentil dumplings are served with sides of yoghurt and two kinds of chutney: sour/sweet tamarind and fresh mint. They're gluten-free too, not something that you can say about most kinds of dumplings!
4. Daal Maharaja - Shiraaz
Of course, we couldn't have any rundown of great lentil dishes without at least one veggie curry – and what a curry it is. It's a classic daal with lentils cooked down to melting tenderness with buttercream and spices. Shiraaz give it an extra kick of flavour with the addition of coriander and ginger to create a warming and delicately flavoured dish that is truly fit for the most discerning maharajah!
The lentil is the star of the show in the hands of some of Melbourne's most inventive chefs. Let Deliveroo bring their masterpieces to you.