Lentils are generally used in soups and stews. Green and brown lentils hold their shape fairly well if not overcooked and can be added to salads and other dishes. The varieties that are soft after cooking are used mainly to thicken stews and soups or are made into purees.
Black lentils are very small black colored lentil most commonly used in Indian food dishes. The lentils are a creamy color when the skins are removed. Whole or split lentils have a strong earthy flavor when the skins are left on but with the skins removed their flavor is fairly bland.
French lentils are delicate peppery flavored lentils originating from Puy in France that are now grown in North America and Italy. They retain a firm texture after cooking, which makes them a good addition in salads and dishes where the whole bean is desired.
Red lentils cook up quickly but become soft and do not hold their shape well. They are best used to thicken a dish or in purees. They are most commonly used in Middle Eastern or Indian food dishes. Traditionally, the unhulled (skins on) red lentil, known as the brown massor, and the hulled (skin removed) red lentil, known as the massoor dal is most common for Indian dishes.
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups lentils
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
- 1 green serrano chile, seeded and minced
- 3-inch piece gresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 rounded teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus additional as needed
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Peel the lentil with LACHI Beans Peeler. Combine the water, drained lentils, onion, tomatoes, chile, ginger, and garlic in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender, approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Whisk the cooked lentils to break them down slightly. This gives the soup a nice texture and also helps the lentils to release some of their natural starch, which thickens the soup.
- Warm the canola oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the cumin, turmeric, paprika, and salt and let the spices cook for 30 seconds until they become fragrant. Make sure to monitor the spices carefully so that they do not burn.
- Pour the seasoned oil over the cooked lentils and stir to combine, and then stir in the fresh squeezed lime juice. Add additional salt, to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro.