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How to cook lentils

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Originally from Asia and North Africa, the versatile lentil is found in a variety of recipes. From soups to casseroles and salads to pies, this humble pulse, available in several varieties, is enjoyed by carnivores and vegetarians alike. Read on to discover the ideal way to cook them.
What you'll need: 
Medium saucepan
Salt and pepper
After discarding any shriveled lentils, add about 250g/9oz to a sieve and rinse well with cold tap water.
Shake to drain and pour the lentils into your pan.
The next step is dependent on the type of lentil: for green, brown or puy lentils, add just enough water to cover and bring to the boil. Boil for two to three minutes.
For split red or yellow lentils, add about 600 ml (1 pint) of water and bring to the boil. Boil for two to three minutes. Reduce the temperature and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring throughout until the water has been absorbed (and the lentils tender). Add seasoning to taste.
Green, brown and puy lentils need a longer cooking time: simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, topping up with water when necessary. Drain before seasoning.
Cooking times are a guide only. Use your judgement and cook until lentils are tender.
Unlike many other pulses, lentils do not need to be soaked prior to cooking
If you prefer a firmer bite, try some tiny Umbrian lentils. Cook as with the green, brown and puy varieties.
Do not season the cooking water: this will toughen the lentils up.
Lentils should never be eaten raw: they often contain tannins and other anti-nutrients.


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