Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dried or Canned Lentils. Easy Lentil Recipe and Eat a Variety for the Variety

Dried (raw) lentils...

The first time I tried cooking lentils was with dried (raw) lentils that I have to soak then boil, before using. That was too hard on time. I find canned lentils much time-saving though I know the nutrition of dried (raw) lentils should be better than canned (cooked) ones? (really?); and dried (raw) lentils are definitely more wallet-friendly. I came across a few blogs that talk about red lentils, brown lentils, green lentils and I know different lentils call for different cooking time. Some lentil varieties cook faster than the others. Save myself from remembering which lentil is which (you know how sometimes the more you want to remember something, the more your brain fails you?) - surely I wanted THAT lentil variety which requires shortest cooking time. When the brain fails me, comes a no-brainer solution: All canned lentils (regardless of color and variety) takes the same time to cook!

Canned (cooked) lentils

Beans and legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, pinto and fava beans are good sources of proteins if you have a tendency for a veggie diet and need to find your protein source. Beans also contain a variety of minerals that help maintain a healthy body. I am not a vegetarian, so my protein intake also comes from seafood (and meat), other than beans. It is often said that beans are lousy sources of proteins - derived from the fact that there is typically a "limiting" amino acid in plant-based proteins. However, if you are able to extract proteins from different plant sources (e.g.legumes, beans, grains), you can strike the balance and quality of amino acids/protein intake. Eat a variety for the variety.

Lentils with Tomato, Onions and Garlic
Ingredients: Canned lentils (Note: pour the lentils into some kind of strainer/colander and gently rinse the canned lentils with running water as this will get rid of enzymes that often cause intestinal gas; Note1: Check The Kitchn - How to Cook Dried Lentils, if you are using Dried Lentils); 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced; 1/2 tsp minced ginger, 2 small onions, thinly sliced; 1 medium-size tomatoes, sliced to bite-size; pinch of ground cumin, fennel, and turmeric; pinch of salt and black pepper to taste

Directions: Heat a little oil in pan. Fry the cumin, fennel, turmeric briskly, add in onions, ginger then garlic and fry briskly. Add in tomato, and fry till tomato slightly softened. Then add a little water and allow mixture to simmer. Add in lentils, mix well and add salt and pepper to taste. When mixture warms up and the excess liquid of the mixture starts to reduce, turn off heat.

Eat a variety for the variety. This easy lentil dish will be one of the many other legumes shared in MLLA #23 hosted by Susan - The Well Seasoned Cook through this month of May.

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