Red Chief Lentils
Red Chief Lentils are a pale salmon-colored, lens-shaped legume that are known for their quick-cooking nature and high protein content.
Carefully sort lentils and rinse thoroughly. Bring 4 cups water to boil in saucepan. Slowly stir in 1 cup lentils. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 12 minutes for salads, 15 to 20 minutes for main dishes, skimming the water while cooking. Drain. Season with salt.
Storage & handling
Store in a dry, cool place.
One of the most common types of lentils, Red Chief Lentils, or "Lens esculenta," have been a staple for centuries among many Southeast Asian and Mediterranean cultures. They have a beautiful salmon color and a mild, versatile flavor. Red Chief Lentils tend to break down quickly when cooked, making them ideal for soups, stews and curries where a puree texture is desired. When cooked, they have a deep yellow look.
The bushy, annual plant is a member of the legume family, growing about 16 inches tall with seed-producing pods. The dried seeds stored within those pods are the lentils themselves. After their dull-colored seed coat is removed, these vibrant, low-maintenance pearls are revealed to provide fast, easy cooking and quality nutrient supply. Lentils are part of a family of legumes collectively known as pulses, which also includes dried peas and sometimes chickpeas.
The lentil is one of the oldest cultivated legumes-even being mentioned in the Hebrew Bible-and is believed to be native to southwestern Asia and northern Syria. The word lentil stems from the Latin "lens."
Unlike their cousin, the bean, lentils do not need to be soaked and therefore are much faster to cook. They are often paired with grains or rice to provide a complete protein. Rice and lentils make up the popular Indian dish "khichdi," as well the one of the national dishes of Egypt, "kushari." About a quarter of lentil production is from India, most of which is consumed by its domestic market.
In addition to high protein and fiber content, the lentil is also packed with iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium. Eating lentils and other pulses may help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. They are also an excellent source of folate, which is especially important during pregnancy to help prevent birth defects.
This simple, fragrantly spiced lentil dip is given color and flavor from our Madras-Style Curry Powder and cayenne pepper. Delicious eaten on pita, vegetable crudités, or even spread on sandwiches, this dip is sure to become a new favorite.