Lentils and their importance

Lentils are the best staple food found in every home and kitchen. These are cooked in many different ways depending upon their cooking time. Lentils are enormously packed with protein & various essential micro nutrients. All the lentils or pulses are usually served as main course meal, as soups, Indian dals (a water based mashed lentil Indian dish involving powdered spices). You can easily find them in open markets, groceries stores or any Kirana store also. In this blog, we will read various types of lentils and their importance and how to cook them efficiently in easy steps.

Best source for nutrition

Lentils, not only tastes delicious with rice but are often prepared as a salad or soup in many countries. These small granules and beads like structure contains mighty amount of proteins, iron and other minerals. They are also good for your heart and lower down your calories, cholesterol and LDL level. You can have them in your lunch, dinners, as an appetizer in the form of soup along with various listed accompaniments.

Cooking Techniques

Almost all the pulses take same time to cook but it also depends upon your cooking techniques. Whether you opt for basic pressure cooker, slow cooker or pan style, all these techniques require different cooking times. All the pulses should be first soaked for 8 -10 hours or overnight. This is very important before proceeding for any kind of cooking method so that all the naturally occuring toxins are released in water. Soaking usually set free all the naturally occuring aflatoxins and mycotoxins in complex form thus making them safe for consumption. After soaking pressure cooking for 8-10 mins, slow cooker for 4-5 hours can make them deliciously tasty.

Red Lentils

Red Lentils, Laal Masoor Dal

These red lentils are easy to cook and becomes mushy in texture within 10-15 mins of cooking. Masoor whole dal, Masoor dal split without skin comes in this red lentil category. These types of pulses are light pink to dark pinkish brown in color. They are also useful in thickening the curry based dishes and are best in making salads.

Black lentils/Beluga lentils

Black Lentils
Black Lentil, Urad Whole Dal

The black lentils are most nutritious pulses of all and resembles beluga caviar which is why they are also known as beluga lentils. Urad Whole dal, Urad split with skin & urad split without skin are some of the examples. They take quite a nice time of about 40-60 mins to cook in slow cooker and 20-30 mins in pressure cooker. They tastes their best when pressure cooked and tomato gravy. These lentils make a great companion with fish chicken and steaks and prove to be a complete meal in itself.

Yellow Lentils

Split Pigeon Pea/ Toor Dal

Arhar or Tuvar/Toor or Split Pigeon pea, Chana dal comes under this category. They are the most easily cooking lentil out of all. These pulses do not need any long time soaking technique, however it is recommended to minimise the toxicity level. These lentils ar mostly pressure cooked for 10-15 mins or 3-4 whistles at high flame and topped with ghee cumin whole tadka. Prepare very amazing indian popular lentils dishes like dal palak or tadka dal dhaba style out of this lentil.

Green Lentils

Split Moong with skin

Moong dal whole, moong split dal with skin, and moon without skin comes under this category. It is an excellent source of antioxidants, iron and magnesium. The best way of serving them is by making salads through the sprouts of these moong dal. Such kind of lentils also takes long time in cooking.

Other Lentils

Different Types of lentils

Chick Pea, Kidney beans, Soyabean are some of the other lentils. They need soaking for 8-10 hours or overnight followed by pressure cooking or slow cooker cooking techniques. They make a good substitute of vegan burger patty, kebabs, protein source in salads, main dishes, side accompaniments etc. Lentils and their importance not only give strength to the muscle but also adds on the lean mass to the body.

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