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The cultivation of lentils has been practiced for over 9,000 years. They are native to the area of Iraq and then spread throughout the Mediterranean. Due to the properties of lentils, it is very beneficial for the body. It can be taken in any stage of life (children, adolescents, adults, pregnancy and older). Lentils are especially nutritionally beneficial when they are combined in the same dish with whole grains such as rice, wheat, corn, oats, rye, buckwheat, etc. If you are fond of lentils but do not know how to cook lentils, here we will help you, let us begin.
What are lentils?
Before knowing how to cook lentils, we must know what lentils are? Lentils are a variety of legumes that are dried seeds, with round and crushed form. Lentils have a great advantage over other legumes, which do not require soaking, so they can be prepared on the fly to eat in an hour or two.
Benefits of lentils:-
When you will learn the benefits of lentils, it will be a must deal for you to learn how to cook lentils. During childhood, adolescence and pregnancy lentils are best, as they are loaded with proteins and at these stages, a greater contribution of this nutrient is necessary. It also fulfils the iron deficiency usually called as anaemia. Due to the amount of iron provided by this food, it is a recommended food for people who practice intense sports since these people have a great wear of this mineral.
Lentils are also rich in potassium, which helps in a good circulation, regulating blood pressure making it a beneficial food for people suffering from hypertension. Potassium helps regulate body fluids and may help prevent rheumatic diseases or arthritis. Taking lentils also helps to promote intestinal transit, as they are also rich in fiber too. It, in addition also helps control obesity. It is also recommended to improve glycemic control in people with diabetes, reduce cholesterol and prevents a colon cancer.
Lentils are affluent in phosphorus; which helps in keepings our bones and teeth healthy as well as a balanced skin as it helps maintain its natural pH. Due to its high content of phosphorus, this food helps to have a greater physical resistance. This mineral also contributes to improving the biological functions of the brain. Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid, found abundantly in lentils makes this food useful to combat stress and migraines. The vitamin B5 content of this food also makes this a recommended food to reduce excess cholesterol.
The abundance of vitamin B6 present in lentils and also known as pyridoxine makes this food highly recommended in cases of diabetes, depression, and asthma. In addition, vitamin B6 this food helps prevent heart disease, can reduce carpal tunnel symptoms and can even help in the fight against cancer. The folic acid or vitamin B9 of lentils makes this a food highly recommended for consumption in the stages of pregnancy or lactation. This food can also help combat the damaging effects of certain drugs that absorb vitamin B9 and can help alcoholics or smokers, as these habits, cause poor absorption of folic acid.
The high content of vitamin K in this food makes taking the lentils beneficial for proper blood clotting. This food is also beneficial for the metabolism of bones.
How to cook lentils:-
The most common way to prepare lentils is casseroles or stews. For this way, they are cooked with water and the rest of ingredients are meat or vegetables. This makes them acquire a touch of special flavoured lentils. Another well-known way is to make the lentils with vegetables, for it is accompanied with pieces of meat, as for example chicken or some fish. One of the great virtues of lentils is that the cooking time is much lower than the rest of the vegetables that we cook. This makes us choose a lot of lentils to prepare the food because in a couple of hours we can have them ready.
To cook the lentils we must always use cold water, never hot, and it is very important to keep in mind that when the lentils are almost cooked, they are often paste and we can load the stew, so we should not leave them too long.
- Any lentils
- liter and a half of water
- 100 grams of sausage, optional
- 1 green paprika
- 1 tomato
- 1 carrot
- Bay leaves
- 150 grams of onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 50 ml of oil
- Salt to taste
It is advisable to leave the lentils in a bowl with water overnight so that they are well cleaned. They can also be washed at the time prior to cooking. You have to peel the carrot together with the potato in small squares. Empty the lentils in a pot and 1 liter and a half of water. Then add a green paprika with a cut lengthwise and pointed, a tomato cut in half and a bay leaf.
Start to heat the pot over a high heat, once it is ready to boil low the intensity of the fire and add everything we had chopped in the beginning along with one or two tablespoons of salt. Stir the lentils a couple of times and let them simmer for about 45 minutes at a maximum of 1 hour and a quarter. Everything depends on the quality of the lentil, which is why it is recommended once the 45 minutes have passed; test them to see if they are hard or soft. If they are a bit hard you leave them a while longer to cook well.
While the lentils are being made we will prepare a fried soya to give more flavours to the lentils. Peel the onion in pieces, chop the garlic into slices and then pour it in a pan with 50 ml of cooking oil. The idea is that the onion is golden or crunchy, stir for about 10 seconds.
After that, we put it in a crusher to make it look like a paste. Add this uniform paste to the lentils and stir so that the flavours are well impregnated. When the lentils are ready, turn the heat off and remove the bay leaf, tomato and paprika. The key to this recipe about how to prepare lentils is to be aware of the cooking times so that they are not raw or overcooked.