Discover Our Chef’s Top Tips for Cooking with Lentils


Lentils are a staple in many of our cherished dishes, offering not just depth and flavour but also immense nutritional benefits. At our restaurant, we use a variety of lentils, each adding its unique texture and taste to the recipes we’ve perfected over the years. Understanding these little legumes and how to work with them can elevate simple meals to a nourishing feast that delights the senses.

As we go deeper into the world of lentils, we will start by exploring the different types of lentils we use in our kitchen. Each type has its own characteristics and uses, something we are excited to share with you. Knowing your lentils can make all the difference in cooking, which is why we also offer our top tips for selecting and storing lentils to keep them fresh and ready for use.

Cooking lentils might seem straightforward, but achieving the perfect texture can be tricky. We will provide a step-by-step guide to ensure your lentils are perfectly cooked every time, with insights drawn directly from the expertise of our skilled chefs. Whether you’re looking to whip up a quick meal or prepare a gourmet dish, following these tips can help you master the art of cooking lentils. Furthermore, we’ll dive into some creative recipes from our kitchen that showcase how versatile and delicious lentils can be. Join us as we unlock the secrets to working with this wonderful ingredient.

Understanding Different Types of Lentils We Use

In our kitchen, lentils are not just an ingredient; they are a crucial component that brings texture, flavour, and nutrition to our dishes. We incorporate a variety of lentils, each selected for its unique properties and contributions to our recipes. The most common types we use include brown, green, and red lentils. Brown lentils hold their shape well during cooking, making them perfect for dishes where a firmer texture is desired. They have a mild, earthy flavour that complements a wide range of spices. Green lentils, on the other hand, have a slightly peppery flavour and also maintain their texture well, which is ideal for salads and side dishes. Red lentils are known for their quick cooking times and soft texture, making them perfect for soups and stews where a creamy consistency is favoured.

Each type of lentil brings its own set of benefits and flavours to our dishes, and understanding these differences is key to maximizing their potential in cooking. This variety allows us to create a multitude of dishes, ensuring there’s always something new and exciting on our menu featuring these nutritious legumes.

Top Tips for Selecting and Storing Lentils

Selecting and storing lentils properly is vital to preserving their quality and nutritional value. When choosing lentils, look for ones that are whole and not cracked, with a uniform color and free from visible moisture or insect damage. This ensures that they are fresh and have been stored correctly prior to purchase. It’s also wise to check the packaging date to make sure you are getting the freshest lentils available, as older lentils can take longer to cook and may not provide the best flavour.

Storing lentils is straightforward but essential. Always keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. We recommend storing them in an airtight container to prevent moisture and pests from getting in, which can spoil the lentils. Properly stored, lentils can last up to two years, although we suggest using them within a year of purchase for optimal taste and texture. Following these simple tips will help ensure that the lentils we use in our dishes are always of the highest quality and ready to be transformed into something delicious.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Perfect Lentils

Cooking lentils is a fundamental skill in South Asian cuisine, as these versatile legumes form the base of countless dishes throughout the region. The key to cooking perfect lentils lies in understanding their variety and adjusting your cooking methods accordingly. First, it’s essential to sort and rinse lentils well to remove any dust or debris. Then, soak them in water for a few hours, reducing the cooking time and aiding in digestion.

When cooking, always use fresh water. Bring it to a boil, add the lentils, and simmer. Generally, split lentils cook faster, taking about 15 to 20 minutes, while whole lentils might take up to 45 minutes. However, always check your lentils, as cooking times can vary depending on their type and age. The goal is to achieve a tender texture without them disintegrating into mush. To enhance flavour, add aromatic herbs and spices during the cooking process—ingredients like bay leaves, cloves, or cumin can significantly elevate the taste.

Creative Lentil Recipes from Our Kitchen

We love experimenting with lentils and have developed some creative dishes that highlight their flavour and versatility. One of our favourites is the Lentil Tacos, where we use spiced lentils as a filling inside crisp taco shells topped with fresh vegetables and a dollop of yogurt sauce. Another innovative dish is Lentil Coconut Soup, a creamy, rich concoction that combines lentils with coconut milk and spices, perfect for a cozy night.

For those with a sweet tooth, our Lentil Pancakes are a must-try. These are not only nutritious but also incredibly delicious, served with a side of spiced apple compote. Lastly, our Lentil and Spinach Salad makes a fresh, light lunch option, dressed with a lemony vinaigrette that brightens the earthy tones of the lentils. These dishes show that with a bit of creativity, lentils can be much more than just a side dish.

In Conclusion

At our establishment, we take pride in using ingredients like lentils not only for their versatility and health benefits but also as a means of bringing a piece of South Asian culinary tradition to your plate. Each lentil dish we create is a reflection of our commitment to authenticity and innovation in cooking. Whether stirred into soups, simmered in spicy curries, or included in creative new dishes, lentils are a staple that celebrates the richness of South Asian cooking.

We invite you to explore lentils and more at East India Company Restaurants. Delve into the diverse menu of our East Indian restaurants in Manitoba and Ottawa, where each dish tells a story of flavour, tradition, and culinary creativity. Experience the taste of authentic South Asian cuisine with us.

East India Company - Winnipeg

349 York Avenue
Winnipeg Manitoba 204-947-3097

East India Company - Ottawa Centre

210 Somerset Street West
Ottawa Ontario 613-567-4634

East India Company - Ottawa West

1993 Robertson Road
Ottawa Ontario 613-721-3777
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