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Lentils yahni (stew) with sage and coriander scented carrots

April 17, 2011

An alternative, sweet and very tasty way to eat and cook the common lentils without any sophisticated ingredients and cooking methods: yahni.

A very popular way of cooking in Greece but do we really know what does the word mean? I found out this definition in the Greek Cuisine Dictionary by Diane Kochilas:

“A way of cooking meat, fish, vegetables or legumes by browning onions in olive oil, then adding the main ingredient and cooking it in a tomato sauce. The word derives from the Turkish one, yahni. In some places in the mountains of Peloponnese in South Greece, mainly around the Aigio area, we can taste the white yahni, which are mainly meat dishes cooked the same way as above but without the tomato”.

So, check out these lentils in a yahni way!

Slightly adapted by Myrsini’s Lambraki recipe in Gastronomer magazine (February 2010)


  • 180 gr cleaned and washed lentils
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 big onion finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves in thin slices
  • 4-5 ground coriander seeds
  • 4-5 dried sage leaves
  • 4 medium sized carrots in thin slices
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 250 ml vegetable broth or water
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste –I didn’t have any and used tomato juice -1/2 glass of water
  • Salt, pepper


1.      In a big pot, pour the lentils and lots of water and let them boil for 10’. Just before you put them out of the heat, pour some salt and stir them. Turn the heat off, drain them and wash them with cold water. Leave them alone!

2.      In the same pot, heat olive oil in medium fire and put the onions to brown along with garlic, coriander and sage for 2-3’ until you got all their flavours.

3.      Add carrots and sugar and keep browning for 7-8’ on medium heat until the carrots caramelize.

4.      Add drained lentils as well, broth or water, tomato and some more salt and pepper and let them boil on medium heat for 25-30’ or until the lentils are soft, the liquids are all used up and the food is left only with its olive oil.

5.      Eat warm or at room temperature with a good red wine!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2011 12:03 am

    Great photos and recipe!

  2. April 18, 2011 12:20 am

    Γεια σου Άρτεμις. Χαίρομαι που βρήκα το blog σου. Πολύ νόστιμο το γιαχνί με τις φακές!

    • April 18, 2011 6:24 pm

      Ευχαριστώ πολύ, καλώς ήρθες στη Wonderfoodland!

  3. Greg permalink
    December 11, 2011 9:52 pm

    I enjoyed this recipe, although mine came out a bit sweet and not quite as sagey or coriandery as I would have liked. I only had fresh sage and I ended up adding much more than the recipe asked for after having a taste, as well as more coriander and a little cayenne. Also threw some sliced shiitakes in too, which worked well. Thanks for the recipe!

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