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Robin Garr

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Red lentil and cauliflower dal

by Robin Garr » Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:19 pm

Red lentil and cauliflower dal

This is a remarkably simple, warming and filling Indian-style dal (lentil stew) for a wintry evening.

Very little prep is required: Brown sliced onions and minced garlic in peanut oil or coconut oil until the onions start to brown. Then put in 1/2 tablespoon (more or less according to heat desired) of Madras curry paste; stir in 1/2 cup red lentils, then add 2 cups water or vegetable broth and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are very soft. After about 10 minutes' cooking, put in 2 cups cauliflower florets; for the last 5 minutes, add 1/2 cup thawed frozen peas.

Salt to taste only at the end of cooking; lentils seem to end up with a better texture if you cook them without salt. Serve with rice or naan bread if you like, but I find that the lentils work as the starch of the meal for me and don't need additional carbs.
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Rahsaan

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Re: Red lentil and cauliflower dal

by Rahsaan » Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:28 pm

Robin Garr wrote:lentils seem to end up with a better texture if you cook them without salt.


Interesting. I cook a fair amount of lentils and usually salt at the beginning. What exactly do you mean by 'better'? (I.E. what is the effect that you get) Am curious and may try this tonight as I had planned to cook lentils anyway.
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Robin Garr

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Re: Red lentil and cauliflower dal

by Robin Garr » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:19 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
Robin Garr wrote:lentils seem to end up with a better texture if you cook them without salt.


Interesting. I cook a fair amount of lentils and usually salt at the beginning. What exactly do you mean by 'better'? (I.E. what is the effect that you get) Am curious and may try this tonight as I had planned to cook lentils anyway.

Rahsaan, to me they seem more chewy if I cook them with salt. I thought I noticed this a couple of years ago and then Googled to see if anyone else in the world agreed, and found abundant references to the practice. That pretty much reinforced my opinion, so I hold the salt without even thinking about it now.

Okay, I just Googled "salt lentils after cooking" (no quotes) and most of the first page of hits all said to hold the salt until the end.

Here's one:

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-dried-lentils-116321 wrote:After trying many different cooking methods for lentils, we have found that the most reliable way to cook perfectly tender lentils is to bring them to a rapid simmer, and then reduce the heat to low for the rest of cooking. You want to see just a few bubbles in the water and some gentle movement in the lentils. They will plump up nicely without splitting their skins or becoming mushy.

The other trick is to wait to add the salt or any acidic ingredients until the lentils are done cooking. These ingredients can cause the lentils to stay crunchy even when fully cooked. If you stir in the salt while the lentils are still warm, they will absorb just enough to taste fully seasoned.


And another ...

http://noshon.it/tips/how-to-cook-perfect-non-mushy-lentils/ wrote:How to Cook Perfect, Non-Mushy Lentils
Lentils are one of our favorite pantry staples because they’re versatile, healthy, and add an earthiness to salads and soups. They come in a variety of colors like orange, red, and yellow (which are better for soups & stews), but green lentils are the best for salads because they hold their shape. Here’s how to make perfectly cooked lentils:

1. Rinse the lentils under cold water and pick out any stones or discolored bits.

2. Add the lentils to a pot with a ratio of 2 parts cold water to 1 part lentils. Wait to add salt until the end.

3. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, and cook 20-30 minutes uncovered until the lentils are cooked through but not falling apart. You may need to add hot water to keep them slightly submerged.

4. Strain, return to the pot, then salt and season.

Salting the lentils while they cook may prevent the shells from softening so we like to season them while still hot right after you drain them. If you’re using them in a salad recipe, add the dressing while the lentils are warm so they soak it up. Now, your perfectly cooked lentils are ready to use so let your creativity run wild.
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Rahsaan

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Re: Red lentil and cauliflower dal

by Rahsaan » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:59 pm

Interesting. I usually cook the red lentils until they become mushy anyway, as we like it almost 'creamy', but will try this and see how it goes.
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Red lentil and cauliflower dal

by David M. Bueker » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:58 pm

You don't soak the lentils ahead?
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Robin Garr

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Re: Red lentil and cauliflower dal

by Robin Garr » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:02 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:You don't soak the lentils ahead?

Not red lentils! They tend to be soft and cook fairly quickly in any setting. Actually, thinking about it, even green lentils, which do take about twice as long to cook as red, really don't need soaking in my opinion. Now you've got me wondering, though ... I'll google this when I've got time. Meanwhile, what do our other lentil gurus think? Rahsaan? Anyone? Bueller? :mrgreen: A
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Red lentil and cauliflower dal

by Paul Winalski » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:17 pm

I've never found any need to soak either split red lentils (masoor dal) or pigeon peas (toor dal, also called red lentils sometimes). After about 1/2 hour's simmering, they are soft and starting to fall apart and go creamy. Chickpeas, on the other hand, seem to take forever to cook, even after soaking overnight.

-Paul W.

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