2007, pp 33-46

Uses and Consumption

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Lentils are one the earliest known crops to be cultivated and archaeological evidence goes back at least 7000 years. They have been in constant use in different societies since then and their consumption has been widespread in developed and developing countries alike. It is consumed for its flavour, its versatility and its high nutritive value and other health benefits which are briefly discussed here and elsewhere in this book. In most of the Asian countries and particularly in the Indian subcontinent the major use for lentil is for making dhal for which the red lentils are preferred. The types of lentil soups prepared in different countries and regions throughout the world vary enormously depending on local tradition and palate from the spicy Indian dhals to the more aromatic north African lentil soups to the meat based European dishes and several recipes are included here. Dhal alone describes a whole group of dishes which vary enormously from the different regions of India and the other countries of the subcontinent. They are also used uncooked; either soaked crushed and moulded to make cakes or sprouted as an ingredient in salads in some parts of India and as such provide better nutrient value