Saturday, 20 February 2010

Cooking; Lentils; healthy and delicious;

Ingredients to cook a healthy and delicious lentil stew.
2 cups lentils, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 3 bay leaves, curry powder, ground cumin, pepper, herb salt (made from my herbs), tomato paste and water. (I use when ever possible my own grown or organic.)

The ancient Greek dramatist Aristophanes mentions lentil soup in his plays and describes it as the "sweetest of delicacies."

Put half a table spoon ghee into a pan and make a sofritto with the finely chopped onion, carrot and bay leaves. The onions and carrots must not get brown. This will be the base for the lentil stew.

Lentils contain high levels of proteins, including the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine, and are an essential source of inexpensive protein in many parts of the world for those who adhere to a vegetarian diet or cannot afford meat acids, methionine and cystine.

Apart from a high level of proteins, lentils also contain dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals.

Add the soaked and rinsed lentils (soak the lentils 2-3 h before use) and 2 table spoons tomato paste. 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, salt and pepper to your liking.
mix well and let simmer for 2-3 minutes, add 2 cups of water.

Let this lentil stew simmer for 1 1/2 h or until the lentils are nice and soft. Check from time to time if it needs more water. It can be reheated in the microwave the next day.

Lentils are annual plants producing lens-shaped seeds. A cousin of the bean, the lentil belongs to the legume family, or those with seeds that grow within pods. Lentils are quite rich in iron and have the highest levels of protein of any vegetable next to soybeans.

Lentils, botanically-known as Lens culinaris esculenta, have been a source of sustenance for our ancestors since prehistoric times. The word lentils comes from the Latin lens, and indeed, this bean cousin is shaped like the double convex optic lens which took its name from the lentil.

Lentil is the oldest food legume that has been known to the mankind. The nutritious value of the seeds of the plant is quite high as it is rich in carbohydrates, fibers and proteins and that is why lentil is so popular among the vegetarian population of the world.

It also acts as an important secondary crop in the crop rotation schedule as it has been proven that masur crop is extremely good in fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere and forming nitrogen nodules in the soil that rejuvenates the nutrients and keeps the soil productive for a long time.

Lentil or masur is one of the earliest and first crops that have ever been cultivated. Lentil originated in the central Asian region in the prehistoric times.
The earliest archeological finding in context of lentil is from the Paleolithic and Mesolithic layers of Franchthi caves in the Peloponnese, Greece that dates back to almost 13000 to 9500 years ago. Other ancient findings are from Syria and Jericho area of Palestine that is almost 8000 years old and from Turkey dating back to around 6700 BC.

Bon appetit