Trini stewed lentils are a favorite lunch side dish with fried rice, macaroni pie, stewed chicken and more. Who’s getting hungry just thinking about it?
This stewed lentils recipe is a bit different though. To save time, I pressure cook my lentils separately before stewing with aromatics and seasonings. Here’s more.
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Ingredients for Trini stewed lentils
For this recipe, I used:
- brown lentil peas: this is the main type of lentils used for Caribbean and Trini recipes like this.
- brown sugar: when caramelized, this forms the base for the stew. You can substitute for browning if you prefer (which you can get on Amazon here or make it for yourself from scratch).
- ketchup: thick tomato ketchup is often used in many Caribbean stews. You can leave it out or use fresh tomatoes as a substitute.
- carrot: this adds a nice soft crunch to the lentils. You can mix in other veggies too like pumpkin, spinach, kale, tomatoes and more.
- pepper: pimento, scotch bonnet, or chillis can be used for making stewed lentils. If fresh pepper isn’t an option for you, then try pepper sauce, pepper flakes or even black pepper.
- Caribbean green seasoning: made with chadon beni leaves, garlic, pepper, ginger and more. You can make the seasoning from scratch (check out this post for more) or shop on Amazon for green seasoning.
- fresh seasoning: freshly chopped chadon beni and cilantro (what we call celery) add a nice fresh element to the stewed lentils.
- oil: any vegetable oil works for this recipe.
Equipment for this recipe
How to make this stewed lentils recipe
Pressure cook the lentils
Step 1: Check the brown lentil peas and remove any bad peas and unwanted bits. Give the lentils a good wash.
Step 2: Place the pressure cooker on high heat. Add water, salt and the washed lentils. Cover and allow to pressurize.
Step 3: When the cooker is pressurized and steam flows through the top, add the weight. Turn the heat down to low.
Step 4: Cook for 10 minutes.
Step 5: Turn off the heat after 10 minutes and leave the pressure cooker to depressurize on its own. Or gently lift the weight to allow the steam to escape.
Step 6: Once the cooker is depressurized, remove the cover.
Step 7: Strain the cooked lentils and set aside.
Prep the other ingredients
Step 8: While the pressure cooker is on, wash, peel and chop the onion, garlic, pepper and fresh seasonings. Wash, scrape and chop the carrot.
Make the browning
Step 9: When the lentils are cooked and strained, place a large pot on medium heat. Leave to heat up for 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 10: Add oil and allow to heat up for a minute or so.
Step 11: Sprinkle the brown sugar over the hot oil. Leave for 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 12: Stir the sugar often as it melts and caramelizes. It will become frothy and dark. This will take about 5 to 8 minutes.
Cook the aromatics
Step 13: When the sugar becomes dark brown, carefully add in the ketchup and 1/4 cup of water. This will stop the sugar from caramelizing more and burning. If it becomes burnt, the lentils will become bitter and, if that happens, tomatoes, pumpkin and extra ketchup can be added to balance the flavors.
Step 14: Mix in the chopped onion, garlic, pepper, carrots, green seasoning and salt. Stir to coat everything with that beautiful browning sauce. Allow to cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the cooked lentils
Step 15: Add the strained, cooked lentils and the remaining water.
Step 16: Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the carrots have softened nicely. Mix in the fresh herbs and taste test to adjust your flavors. Serve hot alongside macaroni pie, fried rice and more.
More Lunch Recipes
Trini stew lentils recipe
Caribbean stewed lentils
- 1 cup brown lentil peas
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 carrot
- 1 pepper (like pimento or scotch bonnet)
- 1½ tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp Caribbean green seasoning
- 5 chadon beni leaves
- 2 cilantro (celery) stalks
- 2 tsp salt (1 tsp for pressure cooking, 1 tsp for the stew)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 3¾ cups water (2 cups for pressure cooking, ¼ cup for browning, 1½ cup for the stew)
- Pressure cooker
- Wash the brown lentil peas, removing any bad bits.
- Place a pressure cooker on the stove on high heat.
- Add 2 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of salt and washed lentils.
- Cover and allow to pressurize (about 5 minutes).
- Place the weight on the pressure cooker.
- Turn the heat to low.
- Pressure cook for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat.
- Depressurize before opening.
- Strain the lentils. Set aside.
Stewing the lentils
- Wash, peel and chop the onion, garlic, carrot and fresh seasonings.
- Place a large pot on medium heat. Allow to heat up for 2 minutes.
- Add oil to the pot. Heat for 1 minute.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar onto the oil. Leave for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir the sugar occasionally to ensure even heating as it caramelizes.
- Stir often as the sugar darkens. This will take about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add ketchup and ¼ cup of water to stop the sugar from burning.
- Mix in the chopped onion, garlic, pepper, carrots, green seasoning and 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Stir to coat. Allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the strained lentils and 1½ cups of water.
- Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Mix in the freshly chopped chadon beni and cilantro leaves. Taste test and adjust the flavors.
- Serve hot.