Red Lentil-Nutty pulse from India

Lentils are Indian pulses or legumes that more often than not contain a rich, nutty flavor. They’re cultivated and pods and each contains about one or two seeds. There are a multitude of varieties that are classified as either heart-shaped, oval, round, small, and large. Each of them are mostly no more than a quarter of an inch in diameter. Besides which, when compared to dried beans, lentils tend to cook faster without the need to soak them in water. Lentil seeds are available in two variations: whole or split, while some even have their hulls removed altogether. Even though brown and green lentils are the most common types used in the U.S.A., red lentils are also quite popular as well.

Description of Red Lentils
Unlike brown and green lentils, which hold their shape best after cooking, red lentils cannot hold their as well after cooking. Nevertheless, it’s still widely used thanks to its taste and its unique properties. Besides which, all lentil types provide optimum nutritional value, with each and every type containing protein (an important nutrient for growth and body development), Vitamin B (prevents diseases like anemia), dietary fiber (promotes healthy digestion), and little to no calories. Unhulled red lentils cook quickly even though they’re incapable of holding their shape well after cooking, even if they’re not overcooked.

Availability and Applications of Red Lentils
Purees and dish thickening is the best way to utilize red lentils. They’re also mainly used in soups and stews. These legumes are mostly employed in Indian or Middle Eastern cuisine. Unhulled, red lentils are red tinted and brown, and they’re about an eighth of an inch in size. Hulled, the skinless skin has an orange-red tint and is about a sixteenth of an inch in size. Conventionally, the hulled red lentil (the skinless variety, also known as massoor dal) the unhulled red lentil (the variety with the skin still on, also known as the brown massor) are extensively used in Indian cuisine in particular.

Red Lentil Preparation
The main claim to fame that red lentil has over its more common brethren, the green and brown lentils, is its unique coloration, with the downside that it doesn’t have the same shape-retaining abilities as its siblings. Because it’s the lentil variety that’s left soft after being cooked, it’s mainly used for soup and stew thickening, or even as lentil puree. Lentils are widely available throughout the year, although the red lentil less so when compared to the more common brown and green variants. If you’re unable to find this variety of lentil in most food stores, feel free to try out specialty stores and Ethnic markets (like, say, the Indian section of an international grocery).

How to Buy Red Lentils
You can avail of red lentils in either bulk form or in prepackaged bags or boxes. When buying prepackaged red lentils, you should make sure that the package has not been tampered, damaged, or compromised in any way, shape, or form. You should particularly keep a keen eye on any sign of moisture damage. There should be uniformity in the red lentils’ color and size.

Besides which, you should double check to ensure that what you’re buying is insect-damage-free, regardless of whether you’re purchasing your lentils prepackaged or in bulk. Telltale signs of insect damage include pinholes within the lentils themselves. You should not get legumes that are broken or cracked either. Whenever you’re buying red lentils in bulk, you should ensure that the lentil bins are tightly covered and that the product itself is turned over often enough to guarantee its freshness.

Storage of Red Lentils
Keep the following pointers in mind when storing lentils:

  • Annual Expiration: After a year of storage, red lentils (or most any other lentil variant) will start to fade, become dry, and will take longer to cook as a result. Aside from that issue, you can store your red lentils indefinitely, or at least they’re good and fresh before the year has passed.
  • Six Month Rule: You should also always remember that it’s a good rule of thumb to store lentils for six months, because you’re typically not sure how old the lentils you’ve bought at the time of purchase, so it’s better to err on the side of caution and avoid food poisoning through bad, expired pulses.
  • Don’t Mix the Old and the New: Don’t mix old storage lentils with new lentils because the older lentils will be dryer than the fresh ones; you’ll essentially ruin your newly bought lentils with your stored lentils if you mix them together.
  • Degrees of Dryness: The degrees of dryness will also affect the cooking time of each red lentil; that is, the more uneven the dryness of your lentils, the more uneven they’ll be when you cook them. This goes double for red lentils. As such, you should seal them in an airtight container or sealable bag in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight’s reach.
  • Cooked Lentil Storage: Cooked red lentils have a faster expiration date; as such, you can only store them for four to five days in an airtight and refrigerated container. You can also store them inside your freezer for over six months, but the freezing process may adversely affect their texture once you reheat them.

Red Lentil Cooking Preparation
When it comes to preparing red lentils for cooking, you should follow the simple steps outlined below. First off, spread your red lentils in a single layer on a light-colored work surface or a white kitchen towel. Secondly, check them for any damaged lentils, tiny stones, or dirt. After checking each and every one of the lentils out, put them inside a strainer and clean them thoroughly with cold water.

Once you’re done rinsing them, they’ll be ready to cook. Unlike other pulses and legumes, you don’t need to soak them before cooking. Finally, you should avoid overcooking them (unless directed by the recipe) because this will turn them mushy and soft. Red lentils are particularly prone to mushiness after cooking because of its inability to retain its shape like its green and brown counterparts.

Red lentil is good for people with vata type Ayurvedic dosha.

Nutrition Facts
Servings Size 100gm
Calories from Fat 13
Total Fat 2%
Saturated Fat 1%
Sodium 1%
Total Carbohydrate 3%
Dietary Fiber 5%
Vitamin A 1%
Vitamin C 3%
Calcium 2%
Iron 10%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because it has not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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