Though lentils may not be the first choice for many in the western world, they are a staple in Indian cuisine, offering high protein and fiber content. Cooking lentils traditionally can be time-consuming, but luckily, there is a quicker option – the microwave. In this article, we will guide you on how to microwave lentils to perfection without compromising taste or nutrition.
How to Microwave Lentils
Microwaving lentils is a hassle-free method that does not require multiple bowls or intricate flavoring. By following these simple steps, you can enjoy delicious and well-cooked lentils using just your microwave and a bowl:
Wash: Similar to rice, always wash your lentils before cooking. Place the lentils in a sieve and rinse them under cold water for a few minutes to ensure they are properly cleaned.
Soak: Cover the lentils with water and let them soak overnight or for at least 2 hours before microwaving.
Drain: Once the lentils have softened, drain the soaked water and replace it with fresh water, covering the lentils entirely.
Microwave: Microwave the lentils on high heat for 7 minutes to soften them before adding flavor.
Drain and Wash: After the first microwave, drain the lentils and rinse them under cold water. Repeat this step three more times.
Add Water: Pour enough water over the lentils, ensuring that the water sits about an inch above the lentils.
Add Flavor: Now is the time to add any herbs, seasonings, or flavored oil to enhance the taste. Gently mix the lentils to incorporate the extra ingredients into the water.
Microwave Again: Set your microwave to its highest heat and cook the lentils for 7-10 minutes, depending on the length of the previous soaking.
Check: Test the lentils’ tenderness by pressing one with a fork. If the fork does not sink easily, microwave the lentils in 3-minute intervals until they are tender.
Drain: Once the lentils are cooked, drain any excess water.
Serve: Your perfectly cooked lentils are now ready to be incorporated into your dish!
Tips for Successful Microwave Lentils
To ensure your microwaved lentils are bursting with flavor, consider these handy tips:
Don’t Forget to Soak: Soaking the lentils is crucial for successful microwaving. Remember to allow enough time for lentils to soak before cooking; overnight soaking is preferred.
Seasoning Timing: While our method suggests adding salt before microwaving, if you prefer softer lentils that are easier to mash, season them after cooking.
Use Broth for Extra Taste: For an added burst of flavor, replace the water with your favorite broth when you reach step 6.
Add Flavorings Easily: Even a simple addition, such as a sprig of rosemary or a bay leaf, can elevate the taste of lentils without much effort.
Why Microwave Lentils?
Microwaving lentils offers some enticing benefits that might change your mind about cooking with them:
Lentils are notorious for their long cooking time, often resulting in unsatisfactory outcomes. However, using a microwave significantly reduces their cooking time, ensuring perfect lentils practically every time.
Just like stove-top cooking, microwaving allows you to add your favorite herbs and seasonings to enhance the flavor of your lentils. The shorter cooking time also means you can experiment with different flavors without wasting precious time.
Why Not Microwave Lentils?
While microwaving lentils is a convenient option, there are a few factors to consider:
Lentils can be challenging to cook due to their initial hardness. Soaking them before microwaving is essential to ensure they become soft enough to cook. If you have a weak microwave, it may take longer or result in unevenly cooked lentils.
Soaking Still Required
One aspect of lentil preparation that remains unchanged when microwaving is the need to soak them beforehand. If you want fully cooked lentils, soaking is necessary, and microwave cooking won’t save you preparation time.
Microwave Lentils FAQs
If you still have questions about microwaving lentils, here are some frequently asked questions:
Can I skip the soaking step?
- No, soaking is essential for successful microwaving. It helps ensure even cooking and a desirable texture.
Can I season the lentils before microwaving?
- Yes, you can add salt before microwaving, but for softer lentils, it’s best to season them after cooking.
Can I use flavored broth for extra taste?
- Absolutely! You can replace water with your preferred broth during the cooking process to infuse the lentils with additional flavor.
Now that you know how to microwave lentils to perfection, you can enjoy a quick, nutritious, and delicious meal in no time. Happy cooking!