Red Lentils as salad material?

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Red Lentils as salad material?

Postby Jenise » Sun Oct 08, 2006 4:29 pm

I found a recipe for an Ethiopian lentil salad, and I don't have any brown or black lentils on hand, but I do have some red. Red, however, are so much more fragile, and I wouldn't have ever considered using them in a salad except that circumstances suggest I try. Has anyone ever used them this way? I presume that poaching them for about ten minutes or so to an al dente state would be the right approach.
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RC: Red Lentil Soup

Postby Karen/NoCA » Sun Oct 08, 2006 10:08 pm

I buy lentils from Indian Harvest. This soup was my first try using lentils. I have since tried green, and a few others. I recall this soup (from their website) as being very tasty. Not a salad recipe as you asked for, but you might want to check their website.

Preparation time 30 mins to 1 hour

Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour

Red Lentil Soup

55g/2oz unsalted butter
1½ tbsp grated fresh ginger
¼ tsp each ground allspice, ground cumin, and chilli powder
½ tsp each curry powder and ground coriander
2 onions finely chopped
1 parsnip, chopped
1 stick celery
1kg/2¼lb carrots, sliced
85g/3oz split red lentils, rinsed
25g/1oz long-grain rice
1.7 litres/3 pints vegetable stock
400ml/14fl oz tin coconut milk
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp chopped coriander

1. Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan and add the ginger, allspice, cumin, chilli powder, curry powder, and ground coriander.
2. Cook over a low heat for three minutes, stirring continuously.
3. Add the vegetables, stir to combine, and cook for a further eight minutes.
4. Stir in the lentils and rice before adding the stock.
5. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the lentils have started to break down.
6. Blend the soup in a liquidiser or food processor until smooth.
7. Return to the heat and add the coconut milk, lime juice, and coriander.
8. Heat through but do not let it boil again.
9.Serve immediately.
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Re: RC: Red Lentil Soup

Postby Skye Astara » Sun Oct 08, 2006 11:32 pm

I don't know Jenise, my experience with them may be different from yours but for me they always fall apart completely, the instant that they are cooked. I thought it was just the hulls that kept lentils in a cohesive enough state for salad.

If it works I'd love to hear how you did it though. I love the color and flavor of red lentils and I think using them in a salad is a great idea.
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Re: Red Lentils as salad material?

Postby Paul Winalski » Sun Oct 08, 2006 11:47 pm


Poach them briefly and I'd think it would work out OK. But you do have to be very careful not to overcook them, for use in a salad rather than a mushy preparation such as an Indian dal.

BTW, tonight's dinner was Doro Wat, with rice. Delicious as always. For the leftovers, I think I'll try serving it with dosas, since I don't have the wherewithal to do injeera.

Be sure to let us know how your Ethiopian dinner turns out.

-Paul W.
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Re: Red Lentils as salad material?

Postby Jenise » Mon Oct 09, 2006 5:24 am

Hey, this worked! I cooked them just to al dente (in just salted water with, as a lark, a couple kaffir lime leaves), then shocked them with a cold water rinse and spread them in a shallow dish. They were a lovely pumpkin orange color by comparison with a few that got left in the bottom of the saucepan with a little of the cooking water--those turned the usual yellow. At that point dinner was still a few hours away, so to preserve the color I initially just tossed them with diced fresh jalapenos and minced garlic, then waited until serving time to add a light dressing of lime juice, olive oil and fenugreek leaves. Oh, plus a finely diced radish for texture. (There was only about a cup and a half of this salad.) It was very good.

Paul, since you asked, we also did a vegetable dish of baby red potatoes, carrots and celery lightly cooked (in water) and then stir fried with ginger and green onions. That recipe came from an Ethiopian food site.

The wat was excellent, and because I made the injeera I didn't make the rice which, to be honest, I missed.

But the injeera. It was my first time with that, and I was surprised at how many recipes I found on the internet that bore no resemblance to each other: with or without yeast, with or without baking powder, with or without some AP flour mixed with the teff. Since we didn't have three days to let the dough sour, we went with a recipe that used basically 1:1 flour and water, wherein the flour was part AP. Well, that didn't work at all: the little pancake cracked at the first nudge of a spatula which put a comment I had read on one of the sites about teff not having any gluten into perspective. It came out of the pan in several pieces--which went straight into the trash. We tried thinning the dough and those fared no better, so I added even more water plus a few eggs to reach the consistency of crepe batter. Those worked, at last, and tasted fine, rather like buckwheat crepes. Not what we were looking for but entirely serviceable, for we could tear them and use them to pick up sections of chicken and sauce in the traditional way. We made some plain and some with a little cumin and nutmeg for just a subtle hint of something exotic, and liked the latter better.

Oh, and while cooking we listened to an album of Ethiopian Jazz that Mark brought over. Now THERE'S atmosphere!
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