Split Petite Crimson Lentils
Petite Split Crimson Lentils are shelled and split lens-shaped legumes 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. Cook until lentils are still firm but cooked through. Do not overcook. Drain lentils and rinse with cold water. Season with salt. Refrigerate until serving.
Storage & handling
Store in a dry, cool place.
Petite Split Crimson Lentils (Lens esculenta) are a small, colorful variety of decorticated (shelled) lentil, called "Masoor dal" in Hindi, averaging about 1/3 of the size of the standard-size lentil.
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 as 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.
Split Petite Crimson Lentils are the foundation of many Dal recipes. This recipe, finished with hot oil or ghee, is flavored with lightly toasted whole and ground spices that are poured into the dal just prior to serving.