Cooking With Lentils

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Cooking With Lentils

If you are looking for a healthy substitute for meat, lentils are for you. Teeming with nutrition especially protein and Iron and low in fat, lentils fill you up without feeling the need for fatty foods. Lentils are tiny beans belonging to the legume family. They add color to your kitchen racks as they come in black, green, red, white, yellow and brown shades.   Lentils are available throughout the year and can be stored fresh in air tight containers for up to 2 years!

They grow in pods and are round, oval or heart shaped. They may be used as a whole or split or de husked. Using a combination of lentils in cooking makes your meal mighty nutritious.

All lentils and beans turn out best when cooked in natural clay pots, because of the unique far-infrared heat that cooks them.  This superior form of heat is that which is built up in the walls of the pot and cooks the food by penetrating deeper without damaging the outside.   “I had my doubts about the lentils cooking as soft as they cook in my pressure cooker” says Shree, a passionate clay cook from McKinsey, TX when she 1st started cooking in clay.  “But the lentils cook a whole lot better in the clay pot – they are deliciously soft and yet remain whole, never become a mushy paste.”

A few things to keep in mind when cooking with lentils:

  • Wash the lentils thoroughly in 1-2 changes of water
  • Cook one cup of lentils in 2 cups of water with select spices and vegetables
  • Some lentils can be cooked with rice, the once that require the same cooking time.
  • Cooking time differs based on the kind of lentils used. If the grains get mashed with light pressure using a fork, the lentils are done.
  • Soak lentils for an adequate time based on the type selected for use.
  • Vegetarians, it’s a great idea to use cooked lentils or beans in your meals at least 3-4 times a week.  Cook 1 or 2 varieties in bulk, over the weekend and use them throughout the week in your soups, salads, or even with cooked rice or sandwiches.
  • Most lentils cook in about the same time or less than it takes to cook in a metal pot, all in medium heat or less!

About Some Common lentils:

Sr.NoEnglish NameAlternate namesUsesFlavorNutritionCook time - 2 cups in seasoned clay pot.
7Green gramMoong DhalCan be smashed into a thick paste when cooked. Used in traditional vegetable dishesNuttyRich in protein. Easy to cook and digests fast.20-25 mins. no need for pre-soaking
6Red LentilMasoor DhalGets smashed into a thick paste when cooked. Used in rice dishes, soups and curriesSmooth flavorA good source of iron, protein, dietary fiber, vitamin B1 and minerals25 mins. no need for pre-soaking.
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Bengal GramChanna Dhal Does not get mashed up on cooking. Used in rice dishes, gravies and saladsNuttyLow glycemic index30-35 mins. Pre-soaking is optional.
3Chickpeas/ Garbanzo beansKabuli channa/Chole Does not get mashed on cooking. Used to make curries, salads and the famous Hummus, a Mediterranean chickpeas and Tahini paste.NuttyRich in protein, manganese, dietary fiber, copper, phosphorus and iron. Reduces bad cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar and has antioxidant properties.30-40 mins. Dried beans need to be pre-soaked for 6-8 hrs.
2Split red gram/pigeon peasToor DhalGets smashed into a thick paste when cooked. Used in rice dishes, soups and curriesMild nutty flavorHigh in protein, Vitamin A and C30-40 mins. No need for pre-soaking
4Black gramKale Channe Ideal for low fat diets. Split gram is used as a seasoning agent and also as a staple when preparing a variety of breakfast itemsNuttyRich in protein and iron40-45 mins. no need to pre-soak.
5Black-eyed beansLobhia/chawliDoes not get mashed on cooking. Used to make curries and saladsNuttyRich in fiber and potassium. A low sodium food that reduces blood pressure45 mins. Pre-soaking recommended for 5-6 hrs.
8Red Kidney beansRajmaDoes not get mashed on cooking. Used to make curries and saladsNuttyContains cholesterol reducing fiber, increases memory power, energizes, has antioxidant properties, is a fat free high quality protein, reduces rise of blood sugar after a meal50-60 mins. pre-soak for 5-6 hrs.

 

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