Rice Salad

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Executive Chef
Nov 21, 2018
Woodbury, NJ
My favorite lentils for the salads are channa dal, and the French puy lentils, as they both stay firm better. A lentil salad I started making many years ago, sometime in the late 80s, before all these lentils were available around here, I would make with the green/brown lentils, and I would simmer them for about 18 minutes, then start sampling them about every 30 seconds, to keep them from overclocking for the salad, which can happen quickly. It was during that time, maybe in '89, a Pakastani couple opened a small store, in the town I worked in, and I had never seen that many types of lentils and other legumes in one place! And that was a small store, compared to the ones I see these days! So I asked the owner which would be the best of those lentils to cook for a salad, so that they will stay somewhat firm, and not turn to mush quickly. He immediately directed me to the channa dal, and pointed out that there are two other yellow lentils (toor and moong dal), but they don't stay as firm. And channa dal are actually a variety of chickpeas, which have been split and hulled, which is why they stay firmer.

Another thing I like adding to this type of salad is a type of cracked wheat - freekeh, which is a middle eastern ingredient, a not quite ripe wheat, that is roasted in some way, which gives it a smoky like flavor. I put about 1/2 c of it per pound of lentils, in the various salads I make. I usually put about 1/3 c toasted slivered almonds, which gives a great flavor, plus crunchiness.
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