Red Lentils ~ Masoor Dal (Hindi) is much popular in Northern India than in the southern parts is not much used in everyday cooking. They are sometimes combined with toor dal (yellow dal) in cooking to avoid the muddy taste in the red lentil. A variety of lentils exist with colors that range from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and black. Red, white and yellow lentils are decorticated, i.e. they have their skins removed.
A large percentage of Indians are vegetarian and lentils have long been part of the indigenous diet as a common source of protein. Usually, lentils are boiled to a stew-like consistency with vegetables and then seasoned with a mixture of spices to make many side dishes such as sambhar, rasam and dal, which are usually served over rice and sometimes roti/flat bread. I am using red lentil sprouts in my salad to add more nutritional benefits to it. A half cup of raw lentils yields about 2 cups of lentil sprouts and double the nutritional value too.
Nutritional value and benefits of lentil sprouts: Lentils are a legume, and as such are high in protein and can be hard for some people to digest. The sprouting process should make digestion easier, but they may cause a lot of gas in certain people, who should probably avoid them.
The process of photosynthesis and germination changes the chemical composition of the lentil, increasing the amounts of the following substances: Vitamin A, C, E, Thiamin, Niacin, Carotene, Iron, Phosphorous, Potassium, most B vitamins. Sprouts are rich in digestible energy, bioavailable vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, beneficial enzymes and phytochemicals.
Exact information on the chemical changes in sprouted lentils is hard to find, but most sources agree that almost every substance naturally present in the lentil increases during germination, and that existing substances, such as starch and protein, are broken down and effectively predigested by the activated enzymes, making them easier to assimilate. If you want to learn more about Lentils and their benefits click here here and here.
More on how to sprout lentils read Nupur's~A Primer on Sprouting Lentils or else check this video on Sprouting Beans ~ SBT team's blog.
Red Lentil Sprouts Salad with Spicy Vinaigrette
Source: My Own
Prep time: 10 mins
Serves: 4 people
1C sprouted red lentils/masoor dal
1 carrot, peeled and slices
1 plum tomato, cubes
1C/bunch of Watercress (avoid the hard stems)
handful of dried cranberries/cherries
2T toasted pine nuts
for spicy vinaigrette:
3T extra virgin olive oil
1T distilled vinegar or 1/2 lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 shallot, finely chopped
1T fresh parsley, finely chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Wash and rinse watercress and dry it in a salad spinner or over the kitchen towel and place it in a large bowl. Add carrot, tomato, sprouted red lentils, cranberries and toss well.
- In a small mixing bowl add all the ingredients of vinaigrette and mix thoroughly as the oil emulsifies with the acid.
- Pour the prepared vinaigrette over the salad and toss well. Top it with toasted pine nuts or any nuts of your choice.