Also known as
Red lentil, sabut masoor, kaala masoor
Masoor is one of the most commonly used lentils in India. There are various varieties of masoor available in the market, with colours that range from yellow and reddish-orange to green, brown and black.
It is available in various forms – whole and split, with skin or without. Red, white and yellow lentils are decorticated, i.e., they have their skins removed. Saabut means whole, and the brownish skin is retained in this variety of masoor. It can be used in all the dishes in which masoor dal (the split and skinless variety) is used. However, saabut masoor takes slightly longer to cook than masoor dal.
As the name suggests, this refers to masoor that has been boiled. You can use two cups of water per cup of masoor and cook in a pot with the cover on. This way, it will cook a little faster, use less energy, and perhaps retain more vitamins than open cooking. A faster way is to pressure-cook the soaked masoor with or without salt in boiling water. Bring the concoction to a boil; then turn down the flame to medium-low. If it gets too thick, add more water. The beans are cooked when they burst and the water turns syrupy. At this point, you may add spices, vegetables or even boiled rice as per your preference and recipe requirements. Whole masoor generally take about 30 minutes in a covered pan and 5-6 minutes in a pressure cooker. Foam may form during the first few minutes of cooking, which can simply be skimmed off.
Parboiling is a cooking technique in which soaked masoor are partially cooked in boiling water, but removed before it is cooked all the way through. Many recipes call for parboiled masoor as they cook will then completely along with the final dish.
First sort and inspect the masoor for stones, damaged lentils, etc. Then rinse thoroughly till the water runs clear. Now, soak the masoor in water for 4-6 hours, and discard the water. This makes the lentil easier to cook, and also removes substances that may cause indigestion.
How to select
• Whole masoor is generally available in pre-packaged containers as well as bulk bins.
• Regardless of packaging, check the masoor as best as possible to ensure that they are not cracked and that they are free of debris.
• Use masoor to make dal, the classic Indian dish.
• Boil the lentils to a stew-like consistency with vegetables and then season with a mixture of spices to make a tasty accompaniment for rice and rotis.
• Can be combined with rice to prepare khichdi.
• Purée cooked masoor with your favourite herbs and spices and serve as a side-dish.
• Recipes like Khatta Masoor, Lehsuni Masoor, Dal Gosht or Parathas stuffed with boiled Masoor, are also quite popular.
How to store
• Whole masoor will keep for several months if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place.
• If you need to store them for longer, you can keep them in the refrigerator.
• Whole masoor, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, is a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fibre.
• It helps lower cholesterol, and is also beneficial in managing blood-sugar disorders since the high fibre content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal.
• Masoor contains high levels of proteins, including the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine, which 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.
• It is also rich in Folate, vitamin B1, potassium, iron and other minerals, all with virtually no fat.