Pulses and Lentils

Pulses-Lentils form a nutritionally significant item of diet in Indian meals. Which when combined with cereals, form a complete protein source for vegetarians.  For an average Indian Daal-Roti or Daal-Chawal is something that is served at least once in a day.   It provides a vegetarian person a balanced protein and fiber combination.  It is one of the cheapest protein also.  India grows a minimum of 15 different kinds of pulses and legumes, which offers different variety  different amount of protein.  For eg. Split pea is a high protein lentil which is good for correcting kuf & Pitta dosh in our bodies, on the other hand moong daal is light in protein and easy to digest.

Some commonly used lentils in India are Bengal gram (channa), black gram (urad), red gram or split pea (arhar ) green moong (moong)  and coral lentils (masoor), traditionally also served with either Roti (handmade bread) or chawal (rice).    These are easy to do meals, and top the chart of comfort meal preparation in Indian kitchens.

Lentils are used not only to make a daal dish, but it can used to make dishes like Idli (rice-lentil based steamed cakes), Chilla (savory lentil batter based Crepe), sprouts, or can be used as flours like besan (chickpea flour).  They are base of many Indian Desserts too, shaped like round laddu or crafted as diamond shaped fudge.   Lentils are versatile in preparation too and thus can create multiple textures in food.  A rich creamy saucy look of Daals, crackling texture when deep fried, crisp paper thin crepe when turned into a batter, soft dumplings like Idli, and even like a pasta as in Rajasthani Gatta curry.  During the course I will be sharing with you different recipes with different lentils & beans.

Cooking pulses and beans takes longer in comparison to green vegetables, as they are dehydrated.  Hence soaking them for some time is best to reduce the cooking time.  The whole legumes like Chole (chickpeas), Rajmah (kidney beans), sabut urad (whole black gram)  takes much more longer to cook.  It is better to cook once they are soaked overnight in normal water, even for last minute plan it needs 6 hours in hot water.  In comparison, any split lentil is good to cook once soaked for 20 to 30 minutes only.  For best results, rinse a couple of times and then soak.   Some techniques suggest you adding soda bicarb to cook beans rapidly,  but I would not recommend as it destroys Vitamin B12.

In general,  whole lentils takes longer to cook, and longer to digest.  The split lentils are easier to cook, and are more easy to be digested.  We will be seeing recipes time to time to make easy Daal, special Daals, dry daal, etc.  They are best for all buffet, so if you are planning an Indian meal, try some Daal!

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