Category Archives: Cooking

Cooking with Lentil Flour

Urad Flour
Urad Flour

I’ve never met a lentil dish I liked – until I started experimenting with lentil flour. I have issues with digesting gluten and food gums (carrageenan, guar, agar agar etc…). There are plenty of gluten free flour mixes, and products out there, but most of them have gums to replace the gluten, and are fairly devoid of nutrition with their potato, white rice, and tapioca flour blends. Lentils on the other hand are 8% fiber, 9% protein, with good amounts of iron, B6 & magnesium.

Finding lentil flour can be a bit difficult unless you have an Indian grocery store nearby. It will be labeled as Urad Flour. If you can’t find Urad Flour and have a very powerful blender handy, or a flour mill, you can take your pick of whole lentils and make your own flour.

So far, I’ve tried a few different preparations for leaven bread, flat bread, pizza crusts and yes, even cookies. There are even lentil pastas out there, but they’re expensive, I’d like to try a homemade lentil pasta sometime soon.

The flour requires less water than you would expect. A 1:1 ratio by volume is probably the maximum you should ever use, as any more won’t cook properly, and you wind up with a hot goopy mess rather than something edible. A crisp, dense pizza crust will be about a 2:1 ratio. Lentil flour mixes take to rapid chemical leavening for rise more so than yeast leavening – it’s like a slow leak in a tire, faster increases of volume will do more than slow increases.

The flour is very sticky when wet, and dries like concrete. The 1:1 ratio is easier to work with, and can be spread onto a hot surface for a pancake like preparation. For drier preparations, the firm dough can be drizzled in oil on a piece of parchment paper that can be folded over and pressed down to the desired thickness which can then be cooked in a large skillet or griddle, and when fully cooked the parchment paper will detach. Do not delay cleaning the dishes.

I’ll post some recipes later on.

Homemade Habanero Hot Sauce

Finished Hot Sauce
Finished Hot Sauce

After a UNLV study came out listing my favorite habanero hot sauce to be chock full of lead, I tossed it and went looking for an organic habanero hot sauce, but simply couldn’t find one. A lot of them have organic components, but the habanero’s never were. I decided to make my own.

 

I found a great organic habanero powder on Amazon from Starwest Botanicals and some organic cayenne powder. The rest of the ingredients are mostly organic from the store, the tomatoes were homegrown.

All quantities are listed in grams below, the first column is for one bottle, the second for four bottles.

Tomatoes 150 600
Onion 35 140
Garlic 7 28
Cayenne Powder 1.5 6
Habanero Powder 2.5 10
Rice Wine Vinegar 24 96
Juice of 1 lime 24 96
Salt 2.5 10
Corn Starch 0.5 2
Sugar 7 28

Blend all ingredients together with a hand blender (this is my preferred one), or food processor until all ingredients are thoroughly blended. Bring to a boil and simmer on the stovetop for 10 minutes. At the same time, prepare your bottles by sterilizing them and all utensils you will be using in boiling water. If everything is sterile when you cap the hot sauce you should be able to store it at room temperature until you open each bottle.

For the bottles, you can reuse old hot sauce bottles or get some of the mini bottles of wine and empty those out  (make sure they are glass).