Irkak ‘addas or ‘rushtayeh’ is a vegan Palestinian and Levantine dish as old as time. It’s a stew made of tender lentils, noodles, plenty of caramelized onion, lots of warm spices, fried garlic, cilantro, lemon, and pomegranate molasses. Wholesome, tangy, and deeply satisfying, it hits all the right spots. The noodles are traditionally homemade, but I use boxed tagliatelle most often and it works perfectly. This comfort food will be sure to satisfy vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
generous pinch dried red chili flakes
2 1/2 cups green/brown lentils, well-rinsed, soaked for a few hours and drained
8 cups/ 1.5 liters boiling water, as needed
salt, to taste
8 rings/ 3 cups/ 200 gr. tagliatelle pasta, broken into smaller pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons ground seven spice or all-spice
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
good grinding black pepper
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 handfuls cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
juice of 1/2 a pomegranate (1/2 cup juice)
juice of 1-2 lemons, to taste
Heat a large pot over medium heat and sauté the onions and chili flakes in 1/4 cup of olive oil for about 10 minutes or until soft and transparent. Stir in the lentils and cook for 1-2 minutes while stirring. Pour in the 1.5 liters boiling water, season with salt, bring to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to a medium-low and cook for about 30-35 minutes or until the lentils are very tender.
After the lentils are cooked to your liking, add the pasta, seven spice, turmeric, cumin, ground coriander, and black pepper. Cook for another 7-10 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Remove the pot from the heat and sauté the crushed garlic and cilantro in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a separate pan for 2-3 minutes. Stir the garlic mixture into the stew, along with pomegranate molasses, pomegranate juice, and lemon juice. Taste for salt or seasoning and adjust to your liking. Enjoy right away.