Lentil Experiment

Posted: March 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

Yes, an actual test in the kitchen. Who’d have thought!

Being as I’m a quasi-single sort of person, food preparation is kind of a problem — it’s hard to plan sufficiently well to use up perishable items before they go bad and plus, well, I’m kind of lazy. I end up eating out much more often than I should, and it doesn’t do great things for my budget. So I’ve been working on getting together some options to have on hand that aren’t dependent on perishable items, are fairly simple to prepare, ideally fit well with my nutrition goals (which are fairly loose at the moment, but still) and, of course, are zombie approved.

Hence the experimentation with lentils. Thing about lentils is that they have much the same nutrition profile as beans, but require far less cooking. They don’t have to be soaked, and they cook in about 25 minutes. That’s comparable to cooking rice, and it therefore follows that they can be cooked in a rice cooker — along with rice itself, which means that the recommended combination of beans and rice can be cooked at once in the same implement. This muchly pleases my brain meats.

The first experiment with this — just combining the rice and lentils with the recommended amount of water in the rice cooker and letting it go — worked quite well. The result was fairly tasty on its own, and when combined with a bit of teriyaki sauce was quite good indeed.

So I branched out a bit. This time I tried a couple new concepts: cooking an egg along with the rice and beans, and adding seasoning in the cooking phase rather than after.

The egg bit was inspired by one of my fast food temptations — Tokyo Joe’s Oyako Bowl, which features an egg poached in what I think is chicken broth. Obviously, if water is boiling in the rice cooker for about 25 minutes, that’s enough to cook an egg — and then there’s rice and beans and egg all in the same pot.

As for the seasoning bit, I took a leaf from the 1950s better-living-through-food-science that has something of an influence on the sort of food I was raised with. I refer, of course, to Lipton onion soup mix — in this case onion and mushroom, since I also had some barely-expired mushrooms (leftover from a long-ago crock pot experiment) that I also wanted to dispose of.

Here are the ingredients:

photo-2

Preparation was pretty straightforward — put everything in the pot with proportional amounts of water and turn the thing on. Here’s the result:

photo-1

Truthfully, it looks a little better than it tasted. The rice and lentils were a bit undercooked, possibly because of cooking with the soup mix which itself was a bit underwhelming. The egg, however, was perfectly cooked. With a little bit of the teriyaki sauce previously mentioned, it became a fairly respectable meal.

Overall, I think the egg concept was a success and the seasoning concept didn’t work out. For my next experiment, I’m going to try cooking the egg, lentils, and rice together and then try adding the soup mix after cooking.

Comments
  1. Holly says:

    Huh, had no idea lentils could be cooked like rice. Possibly because I’m not a big lentil fan. Maybe you need more water than usual when cooking rice/lentils with other foods?

    • Tinker says:

      Yeah, I think the extra stuff was the problem — absorbing extra water and also thereby shortening the cook cycle or something (the pot works off of the temperature rise after the water boils off, I think). There may also have been s problem with getting the water into the rice and lentils when the surrounding water had salt and stuff in it — mumble mumble chemistry something.

      I’m going to try it again without the seasoning packet. If that doesn’t work I suspect that the water/item ratios for the rice or lentils is off.

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