I never had lentils when I was growing up.
At first, I was very wary, and wondered if it even is edible.
But menestra de lentejas, or lentil stew, managed to change my mind and make me a lentil lover.
Lentils have a lot of different memories packed in them.
I ate them first in Ibarra, my Ecuadorian birthplace, but later on I learned to eat them again in Manta, at the Pacific Coast.
Lentils are very important in Manabí, the province where Manta is located, and they especially eat lentils stew, menestra.
You can get it throughout the whole coastal line with fish, shrimps or any other seafood in any form.
But in Manabí you eat lentil stew with barbequed meat or chicken.
It can be a T-bone steak or pork chops or chicken breast but it's barbequed, full of grease and absolutely, incredibly delicious.
On the side there is always rice (if there is no rice it's not food, is the common opinion in Ecuador, they even eat the spaghetti with rice), fried plantain bananas and a salad.
When I eat my menestra like this it makes me remember the intense heat, the sound of the waves and the salt in the air.
I can actually hear the seagulls screaming and imagine how refreshing a plunge in the sea will feel later on.
Or maybe I'll just take a stroll on the beach and enjoy the beautiful view.
I hope you'll enjoy your lentils as much as I do.
Lentils (dried ones)
Maggi (this is a must in Ecuador, but you can use another form of flavoring)
Green Bell peppers
Fresh Coriander branch
Boil the lentils in the water. Do not add anything else. Let them boil until they start to open.
Fry the vegetable in the canola oil.
If you use bell peppers you need to pass them in a blender but if you don't use bell peppers you can put them straight with the lentils.
Put the vegetables together with the lentils, put the fresh coriander branch there also, and let them boil until the lentils are soft and there isn't much water left.
A tip: When you are boiling the lentils, take out the foam from the surface. That way the stew will be even more delicious.
This is super easy to do!
Now you can enjoy it with fried bananas, barbequed meat and avocado.