Thursday 23 March 2017

Lentils vs Beans

Lentils are part of the  legume family and  make  a very good  substitute  for beans  in baby's food.

They come in different varieties  and  colours - red, yellow, green. They are highly nutritious -  very high in B vitamins and minerals includingron plus it is very easy to prepare!

Various colours and sizes of  lentils

Now  beans  is great,  dont get me  wrong, but there is extra prep that is needed when being used for baby's  food. 

Very young babies  do not  digest  the  skins,  i learned by  experience and had a very messy and  bean peel filled nappy to clean if you want  to give  a baby less than 9 months or even a year beans,  these are your options:

Option 1: 
You soak and  wash off then skins before cooking. ( really who has got  time  for  that! The  stress of  washing  beams  is  the reasons many households  do not  eat homemade moimoi or  akara every day! )

peeling beans - image from  nigerianfoodtv

Option 2:
You cook the  beans normally  and then you pulverise the hell out of it in your blender skina and  all ( now the  issue  with  this method is most blenders need to be at least a quarter or  a third full to blend properly and you need to  add more water than you really need  to get it  all nice  and   smooth.  Now except gbegiri is your intention....  this  offeres  a  few  frustrations.  alternatively  you can use your chopper  attachment in  a food processor,  and you dont need to add as much water as with  a typical blender, but you still need  at least  a quarter of your  food procesor's capacity to blend  well. 

Option 3: 
The  third  option  which i have used is to take my cooked  beans  and  press it with the back of a spoon  through a wire sieve with at least a medium sized mesh, the  beans "flesh"gets  pureed and  passes through the  sieve while  the skins are caught in the  seive.  I tend to favour  this method  as  the  bean puree is of  a thicker  consistency  and  i can then add water  to lighten it  up as  i  wish.  it also allows me to  puree very small quantities if I want to.

Example of   wire mesh sieve

Now why do i looooove  lentils... well they have a similar beans  taste and they are easy peasy  to cook.  Just wash, boil, and   whisk/ beat to mash it  up. The only trick i find  is  gauging  the quantity of water  so  that it  doesn't  turn out  too watery. What i find useful is to just cover  the  lentils  with  water  and  add  more  as i go if needed.

Red split Lentils

I tend to favour the red split  lentils,  but  any of the other varieties are  just  as  good.
To taste  i  sometimes  add  some fish or  a small spoon of  crayfish while its  cooking.


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