[Sca-cooks] My problem cooking lentils

Saint Phlip phlip at 99main.com
Sat Oct 20 11:27:54 PDT 2007

I was thinking, A, that maybe the easiest way for her to test the
water idea is to get a gallon of distilled water from the store, and
try a batch. Neither lentils nor gallons of bottled water are terribly
expensive, and this might give her an idea. I don't think we ever cook
lentils for longer than an hour, pretty much at a mumbly simmer.

On 10/20/07, Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius <adamantius1 at verizon.net> wrote:
> On Oct 20, 2007, at 1:57 PM, Heleen Greenwald wrote:
> > Once again I made a pot of lentils and rice with Indian spicing, and
> > once again the lentils didn't cook all the way til soft.  I put just
> > the lentils and water in a big pot and let them "cook" over low heat
> > for about an hour and a half (!). Then I added the spice, turned up
> > the heat to medium high and cooked for another half hour. Then I
> > added more water and rice. Brought the whole thing to a boil then
> > turned it down to medium and let it keep cooking for another hour....
> > What is my problem? Other than I should give up cooking entirely!
> > You might be able to tell that I am quite annoyed!
> > Thanks for any advice.
> I don't know how helpful this would be, but sometimes peas, beans,
> and lentils will remain sort of hard almost forever if the pH of your
> cooking liquid is off. Maybe you've got some kind of strange soft or
> acidic water where you are (PA?). Or perhaps tomatoes or lemon are
> part of the Indian spicing?  The Romans (as well as some 19th-century
> English and American cooks) used to solve this by adding a very small
> pinch of soda (in their case, cooking or washing soda, in your case,
> presumably baking). If you add too much, it will louse up the flavor
> of the food, giving it that lovely, distinctive salty-soapy flavor.
> As such, I'm not really actively recommending it, but it might be
> something you could experiment with.
> 2.5 hours of ineffective cooking for any lentil that isn't a chick
> pea sounds quite extreme -- I doubt the cooking time is an issue
> here, per se.
> Adamantius
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Saint Phlip

Heat it up
Hit it hard
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