Pulses and lentils are the edible seeds of certain plants of the legume family. Facts about pulses: • Lentils and pulses are dried as quickly as possible after picking to preserve their flavour, plumpness and texture. Lentils and pulses are also available cooked and canned and a few types are fermented or processed. Dry pulses and lentils keep well and are easily reconstituted but should be stored in a cool, dry place and used within 6-9 months. • Lentils and pulses are very low in fat, high in fibre and protein. The Indians use an immense variety of them and preserves to substitute for the relative lack of fresh vegetables in the desserts. • The different varieties are green, orange, red, brown, grey, yellow or black. These are usually served as a main or side dish with curry. Usage: • Pulses and lentils may be used whole in casseroles, salads, and vegetable dishes, pureed in soups or ground and used for croquettes and dips. Pulses are served with cereals. • Most pulses require soaking and cooking to make the beans soften quickly. • Those pulses, which become tender with cooking, will absorb other flavours well and are particularly good in spicy or herby casseroles and those with firmer texture are best served as whole vegetable or in salads. Commonly used varieties: Orange lentil (Masoor dal): Does not require pre-soaking and cooks to a puree very easily. Puy Lentil: These dark French lentils retain their shape when cooked and are best when braised. Yellow lentil: They are referred to as ‘dals’ in India and are Asian in origin. They are served with tempering as a main dish or as a side dish with curries. Indian brown lentil: (Akka masoor dal) these are red lentils, which have their seed coat intact. They become purees when cooked. They have a very high nutritional value. Green lentil: Rich in protein and there are large and small varieties. Popular in European cooking and is served as a vegetable dish. Indian Brown lentil: (Masoor Dal) these are red lentils, which the seed coat has not been removed. They form good purees on cooking. Black Lentils (Urad Dal): A lentil that is sold in several forms (whole, split and skinless), thought to be a native to India. Used in Dal Makhni, Dosa and Idli batters etc., The book of ingredients: Pages 92-93 and 244-245

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