Black Lentils also called Black gram is known as Urad Dal in India. Black Lentils originated in India and has been a part of our regular diet because of its many health benefits.
Nutrition fact about Black Lentils:
Did you know half a cup of cooked Black Lentils have 12gms of protein and 9gms of dietary fiber….one of the most beautiful and powerful nutrient combo.
I totally love the fact that Black Lentils are free of cholesterol which makes it a heart healthy food.As I mentioned earlier it is rich in Vitamins and Dietary fiber(both soluble and Insoluble). Its high level of potassium makes it a great food for high blood pressure patients. Most of us know that high blood pressure is caused due to high sodium levels and low potassium levels. Black Lentils when consumed play a major role in restoring that sodium-potassium balance thus helping the kidneys to work more efficiently.The potassium from black lentils is a natural source so there is no risk of overdose on potassium.One of the other benefit of Black lentils is that it helps in treating constipation since it increases the bulk of stool. Its antioxidant levels help with in having a youthful glowing skin.
Black Lentils can easily be a part of any weight-loss meal plan since it is low in calories and fat along with a low glycemic index value.Definitely rich in Iron and can greatly benefit pregnant women.
Where to find it?
You best source would be Amazon.com or try to find a local Indian Store in your neighborhood.
How to cook it?
Black Lentils just like many other varieties of lentils was an integral part of our weekly meals.I learned this technique from my Mom. She would always soak lentils in water overnight or for atleast 24 hrs. She would then wash and rinse it thoroughly before boiling it in the pressure cooker. I follow the same process and I have had many friends ask me ‘why soaking,washing,rinsing and then cooking’….seems to be too elaborate!! There is a definite reason combined with lot of wisdom as to why our parents and grandparents followed this technique and how does it benefit our human body.
The process of soaking lentils in water and then washing and rinsing them aids in the process of digestion. Once you soak it for 24 hrs watch the scum that appears on the top. It is nothing but lectins and phytic acid which are the anti-nutrients found in lentils,legumes etc. Once washed black lentils become very easy to digest after they are cooked.
Why Pressure Cooker?
I personally prefer using a pressure cooker maybe because that is what I saw being used in our family while growing up. My Mom used to tell me about how a pressure cooker cooks things faster and most of all food is easily digested.There is good amount of nutrient retention. The very concept of steam under pressure keeps the food moist along with getting rid any left over lectins and phytic acid(the ant-nutrients mentioned earlier). The pressure cooker method of cooking also helps in breaking down the protein in Black Lentils. YAY!!
Black Lentil Soup / Urad Dal Recipe
- 3 cups black lentils 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 large onion(diced) 1 tsp garam masala
- 1-2 large tomatoes(diced) 1tsp red chilli powder
- 1 inch piece ginger 1 tbsp turmeric powder
- 2 green chillies(chopped) 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tbsp Ghee salt to taste
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1tsp red chilli powder
- salt to taste
Black Lentils by now have been washed,rinsed,drained and cooked in pressure cooker till soft.
—Heat Ghee in a non-stick pan and add cumin seeds till thry splutter.
—Add ginger,chopped onions and green chillies. Saute’ till onions are golden brown.
—Add chopped tomatoes and cover the pan till tomatoes get soft.
—Then add the cooked lentils and stir .
—Let it cook in low for about 10-15 min.
—Serve hot with Naan,Pita bread or rice.