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Curried Lentils With Poached Eggs

Place peppercorns, cloves, allspice, cardamom, and star anise on a small piece of cheesecloth; tie ends securely and set aside. Heat oil in 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring, until golden, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add chiles, carrots, celery, and onions, and cook until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add reserved spice packet, paste, curry, coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon, and bay leaf; continue to cook, stirring, until paste is slightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add lentils and 3 1⁄2 cups water, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard spice packet, chiles, cinnamon, and bay; season with salt and pepper and keep warm. Bring 16 cups water to boil in a 6-qt. saucepan over high heat. Add vinegar and 2 tsp. salt, lower heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Swirl water with a spoon to create a whirlpool. Crack one egg at a time into a small bowl and carefully slide egg into water; poach until just firm, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to paper towels to drain. Divide lentils between four bowls; top each with 2 eggs. Garnish with cilantro, yogurt and reserved garlic chips with toast on the side. • 8 whole black peppercorns • 4 whole allspice • 1 star anise • 2 black cardamom pods • 8 whole cloves • 1⁄4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg • 1⁄2 lb. dried lentils • 2 tbsp. olive oil • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped • 3 small green chiles • spice packet • 2 tbsp. tomato paste • 1 1⁄2 tsp. curry powder • 1 bay leaf • 1 stick cinnamon • 1⁄2 tsp. ground nutmeg • water • 1⁄2 cup white vinegar • 1 tbsp. salt • 8 eggs • plain yogurt • Fresh cilantro leaves • grilled toast for serving