Red lentils are less common than brown lentils and have a slightly sweeter taste than the brown. They take a little less time to cook although they tend to become somewhat mushy and are therefore more suitable to soups and stews.
The lentil plant belongs to the family legume and is a cousin to peas. The plants are grown for their seeds, which are contained in pods. The botanical name derives from their resemblance in shape to the lens of the eye. Often left to dry on the plant before they are harvested, they can be cooked in many ways as well as being ground into a flour. They are used in countless cuisines worldwide and are a staple diet in many middle eastern countries and India.
Origin and History of Lentils
The Lentil is one of the oldest cultivated legumes, and is believed to be native to South Western Asia and Northern Syria.
The lentil has been an important crop from the earliest of times and was cultivated along with wheat, barley, peas, and flax. During the Neolithic period they spread to Greece and Bulgaria and during the Bronze Age to the Near East and Mediterranean. They are mentioned in The Bible's first chapter, Genesis, in the story of Esau who gave up his birthright for a dish of lentils (Genesis 25: 30-34). The ancient Greeks also enjoyed lentils, which they not only used in soups but also to make bread.
Because lentils are rich in protein and carbohydrates and are a good source of calcium, phosphorus, iron and B vitamins they made a natural staple to supplement other sources of protein. The mass cultivation has lead to changes in the size with cultivars today producing larger seeds that their originals.
Use in soups, stews and pates.
Bring to the boil, simmer for approx 20 min.
Just red split lentils and nothing else.
Typical analysis per 100g: Energy: kJ 1260 kcal 300 Protein: 24g Carbohydrate: 53g Fat: 1g
Packed in a factory that handles nuts.
1 cup yellow split peas
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 Tbsp. oil
1/ 2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 chopped tomatoes
2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 cup split white gram beans
1/4 cup yellow mung beans
1/4 cup red lentils
1/2 tsp. Indian chili pepper or 1 tsp. paprika
3-4 Tbsp. chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
1. Cook the lentils along with the ginger and salt (in the water) until they are soft (20-30 minutes).
2. In a separate saucepan, heat the oil and then add the cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to splutter, add the garlic and tomatoes and sauté for a few moments. Add the salt and other spices and stir well. Add the beans and the water they cooked in, and mix well. Let it cook for one minute.
3. Garnish with the cilantro and a dollop of plain yogurt (optional).