Lentils

Lentils
Like other legumes, lentils are low in fat and high in protein and fiber, but they have the added advantage of cooking quickly. Lentils have a mild, often earthy flavor, and they're best if cooked with assertive flavorings. The best, most delicate lentils are the peppery French green lentils. These hold their shape well, but take longer to cook than other lentils. The milder brown lentils also hold their shape after cooking, but can easily turn mushy if overcooked. Indian markets also carry a wide variety of split lentils, called dal. Before cooking, always rinse lentils and pick out stones and other debris. Unlike dried beans and peas, there's no need to soak them. Lentils cook more slowly if they're combined with salt or acidic ingredients, so add these last. Bigger or older lentils take longer to cook. Store dried lentils for up to a year in a cool, dry place. Substitutes: dal OR split peas OR black-eyed peas
beluga lentil
beluga lentil
These glisten when they're cooked, which makes them look like beluga caviar. They're great in soups or salads.
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black chickpeas
black chickpeas
These are more rust-colored than black, and have a nutty flavor. Look for them in Indian markets.
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brown lentil
brown lentil
These are the standard khaki-colored lentils you see on grocery shelves everywhere. They tend to get mushy if overcooked. If you want them to be firm, add oil to the cooking water and cook the lentils just a short while, say 15 minutes.
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channa dal
channa dal
With their sweet and nutty flavor, these are the most popular dal in India. They're made from splitting a small relative of the chickpea in half. They're a dull yellow and are renown for causing flatulence, which Indians try to counter by adding asafoetida to the dish.
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chowli dal
chowli dal
These are black-eyed peas that have been skinned and split. Look for them in Indian markets.
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dal
dal
Dal is the Indian term for peas, beans, or lentils that have been split and often skinned, but the name is sometimes used for all lentils, peas, or beans, or to cooked dishes made with them. Split lentils don't hold their shape well, so they're often cooked into soups or purées.
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French green lentils
French green lentils
These choice lentils were originally grown in the volcanic soils of Puy in France, but now they're also grown in North America and Italy. They're especially good in salads since they remain firm after cooking and have a rich flavor. They cook a bit slower than other lentils.
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horse gram lentil
horse gram lentil
A staple of many Indian farm families, horse gram has an assertive, earthy flavor.
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Lentils
Lentils
Like other legumes, lentils are low in fat and high in protein and fiber, but they have the added advantage of cooking quickly. Lentils have a mild, often earthy flavor, and they're best if cooked with assertive flavorings. The best, most delicate lentils are the peppery French green lentils. These hold their shape well, but take longer to cook than other lentils. The milder brown lentils also hold their shape after cooking, but can easily turn mushy if overcooked. Indian markets also carry a wide variety of split lentils, called dal. Before cooking, always rinse lentils and pick out stones and other debris. Unlike dried beans and peas, there's no need to soak them. Lentils cook more slowly if they're combined with salt or acidic ingredients, so add these last. Bigger or older lentils take longer to cook. Store dried lentils for up to a year in a cool, dry place.
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masoor
masoor
When whole, this bean is greenish-brown, but recipes often call for the skinned and split masoor, which is called masoor dal.
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masoor dal
masoor dal
These are skinned and split masoor lentils. They're salmon-colored, cook quickly, and turn golden and mushy when cooked.
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moath
moath
These small brown beans are often sprouted.
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moong dal
moong dal
These are mung beans that have been skinned and split, so that they're flat, yellow, and quick-cooking. They're relatively easy to digest.
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red lentil
red lentil
The most common type of red lentil is the Red Chief. It's a lovely salmon pink in its dried form, but it turns golden when cooked. These lentils cook faster than others. They're best in purées or soups.
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toor
toor
These lentils are tan when whole, but they're usually sold skinned and split, which reveals their yellow interiors. They're popular in Southern and Western India. Look for them in Indian markets.
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toor dal
toor dal
Whole toor lentils are yellow with tan jackets, but they're usually sold skinned and split. They have a mild, nutty flavor, and they're often cooked as a side dish or ground into flour. They're sometimes sold with an oily coating, which you should rinse off. Look for them at Indian markets.
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urad dal
urad dal
These lentil-like beans have black skins covering creamy white interiors. Whole urad dal derive their strong, earthy flavor from the black skins and are often used in curries. Split urad dal retain the skins and also have a strong flavor. Skinned and split urad dal are creamy white and somewhat bland.
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urad dal, skinned and split
urad dal, skinned and split
These are black lentils (or urad dal) that have been split and skinned. They're much milder than unskinned.
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urad dal, split
urad dal, split
These are black lentils (or urad dal) that have been split but not skinned. They're not as mild as white lentils, which have been split and skinned.
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val dal
val dal
These are skinned and split lablab beans. They're available in Indian markets.
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