Substituted brown for red lentils. Will there be...consequences?

Should I plan to simmer a bit longer? Add more/less salt/lemon juice/spices? Plan to use blender to increase mushiness?
Will I even be able to tell a difference with my uneducated palate?
Also, my grocer told me that he was having a hard time getting red lentils in bulk. Anyone else finding their red lentil bulk boxes empty? I live on west coast, US.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  • Posted by: drkate
  • March 14, 2011


susan G. March 15, 2011
One way to get closer to the "melting" effect of the red lentils is to use another split bean -- it can even be yellow split peas, even green, from regular American grocery sources. In dal-land, possible mung dal or urad dal would be the closest subs. Whatever you use, watch cooking time, since each one is different inherently and, depending on your store, may be more or less fresh/old.
Panfusine March 14, 2011
the dehusked red ones cook faster & mush up while the brown ones tend to hold their shape.. They also add a satisfying textural component to the finished dish.
nutcakes March 14, 2011
I don't know what you are making but as you see, the red ones dissolve. The brown/green supermarket type partly dissovles. The Puy lentils hold the shape. So you might want a bit more water and to blend, or partly blend as Antonia suggests.

I find red lentils easy to purchase. My bulk stores have them, my ethnic Indian and Arabic markets have the, and my local Fresh & Easy has them.
Nora March 14, 2011
Red lentils will, for lack of a better word, melt. And thicken. Suppose your dish is less mushy (in a good way) and more chewy. And suppose it is browner. How will those changes affect your enjoyment? Note this is less about flavor than texture and appearance.

Two personal notes; 1) I have had trouble buying red lentils from bulk bens, too. 2) I would buy French lentils (pays or green lentils) before I bought brown ones, again for aesthetics. I think they are prettier and toothier.
drkate March 14, 2011
Thank you! I did search red lentils and saw the question you mentioned, but I was unclear on the definitions of masoor dal. I have only recently begun attempting Indian recipes, and like the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, I am easily confused by this new world of strange terms and fancy spices. ;)
Thanks again! Will go add water.
AntoniaJames March 14, 2011
The lentils will keep their shape better, even when cooked. And they do need to be cooked longer, with a bit more water than the red. There was a foodpickle thread on this subject a few weeks ago, when I bought brown masoor dal instead of red. I ended up using them in my Lentil and Sausage Soup for a Cold Winter's Night (in which I typically use puy lentils), and the soup was terrific. I wouldn't go to the trouble of blending all of them. Though perhaps, if you like a creamy soup, you might want to blend 1/2 to 1 cup of the lentils plus broth. I wouldn't change the salt, spices, or lemon juice at all, unless you taste the lentils and decide the soup "needs" something. Have fun and enjoy!! ;o)
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