Pantry check – Lentils

The word ‘lens’ is actually derived from lentils”

If you don’t know anything about lentils, it’s an ancient crop that has been consumed by the humankind since … well,  a very long time ago, I’m no archaeologist so I don’t know the exact number…  suffice to say it’s so old that the word ‘lens’ is actually derived from lentils due to its shape. Lentils are good because they make good main dishes, they make good supporting players in other dishes like salads or soups, they make a good subtle-flavoured sidedish to pair with other strong-flavoured dishes, or you can treat them like grains. One of the big reasons why I like them in my pantry is that they last forever if you keep them in airtight containers. Unlike beans, I don’t pre-soak them unless I want them destroyed in the cooking process. Extremely nutritious and filling, cheap, and easy to cook. Different kinds also creates different textures. The smaller ones tend to turn to mush and the bigger ones keep their shapes a lot better.

One trick that I do with the bigger lentils (brown/green lentil) is I pre-cook a batch in water, drain and store them, then add them in salads throughout the week. It is basically like adding beans into your salads. It adds body and once again, boosts the nutrition.

While I have many kinds in my pantry, the red variety is my favourite. The reds are not as nutritious as the rest, but they don’t take forever to cook and like any others they absorb any flavours you add to them, making them an empty canvas for you to create your meal. One of my goto dish with the red lentil is the stewed lentil, haleem, a dish originated in the Arab region which then became popular in the Indian subcontinent. I posted a recipe for a basic one earlier, give it a go if you’ve never tried lentils this way before. It’s a warming dish perfect for those cold days. It is also the ultimate 1 pot dish with almost unlimited variety.

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