Spices and Seasons – Lovely Legumes – Yellow Split Moong Lentils and Fennel

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Lentil MedleyI love lentils, and for that matter all kinds of legumes! In fact, I love them so much I have been waiting for months to start talking about lentils and legume recipes with you.

The lastest cold wave seemed to have set the stage for me. The timing seems to be just perfect! Well. as I writing this, I just realized that the Seasonal Chef has been also talking lentils – yes, I am a little slow that way! So, the good news is that you will have quite the collection of lentils done all different ways. In case, you have not noticed, I am using the terms legume and lentils interchangeably. The truth being, while lentils form a large segment of the legume universe, there are other legume varieties such as peas, peanuts and all kinds of fresh beans.

Legumes are the backbone of the Indian table, and yes, we actually do use the terms lentils and legumes interchangeably calling them pulses. Lentils are actually the oldest cultivated plants, going back to biblical times. In India, where there is a large vegetarian population, these lentils offer an essential source of nourishment and protein. This has fostered unique and delightful ways, with the humble legume. The trick however is that the average Indian pantry has dozens of varieties of lentils, in fact, almost rivaling their spice collection!

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So, I will try the almost impossible – I will try to pick six of my favorite lentils and offer you ways to enjoy them, so stay tuned for a fun ride. This weeks we will begin with yellow split moong lentils, those are the tiny yellow ones to the left of the red lentils. I am pairing them with another wintery visitor in my kitchen – the fennel, specifically the fennel bulb. Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family and is therefore closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander

Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet, adding a refreshing contribution this time of the year.  Now, that is another magical quality about Indian style lentils, you can make them a mind base for almost any vegetable of your choice, try this week’s recipe that matches the yellow lentils with fennel and spinach and tell me what you think?

 

 

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About Author

Rinku Bhattacharya, the Spices & Seasons blogger, loves meshing seasonal produce with fresh spices. Most of her recipes are inspired by her Indian heritage, and her cooking is practical, easy and well suited for a busy lifestyle on the go. As a mother with two young children, her recipes are also usually balanced and kid-friendly. Rinku is the author of the blog, Spice Chronicles (formerly,Cooking in Westchester), where she shares her life experiences and original recipes. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past nine years. Rinku is the author of two cookbooks: The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles an award winning (Gourmand 2013) cookbook that highlights culture, memories and recipes from her childhood transformed where needed for her Lohud kitchen and Spices and Seasons that marries Indian flavors with local and seasonal produce. Rinku can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and is also a contributor for Zester Daily.

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