Lentils are often met with strong emotions often you love them or you hate them. May I implore you to try 123 Cafes Dahl afresh and then make a judgement.
Lentils are thought to have originated in South West Europe and temperate Asia. However, archaeological discoveries dated BC from Iraq. A famous Hindu proverb says “Rice is good, but lentils are my life”. 1
I love Dahl. My first encounter with this dish at 123 café was sensational. The big white bowl filled with fabulous contrasting colours; orangey/red lentils with white yoghurt, sprinkled with pumpkin seeds with a fresh stork of coriander and a drop of plum chutney. The senses were definitely stirred: temperature warm; spices clearing sinuses; and contrasts on tongue grainy, tart and sweet all in one.
The health benefits of lentils are well known. After analyzing the recipe, it was discovered to contain 39% Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for Iron; 17% RDI Potassium & 21g of protein (~1/3-1/4 standard protein requirements). As a result vegetarians can use lentils as a rich staple filled with negligible fat; boasting an extremely low GI properties in 2 ways. First, it slowly increases your blood glucose levels, filling you up more efficiently. Second, the body digests the legumes slowly and incompletely (due to digestible sugars raffinose, stachyose and verbascose) and reaches the large intestine intact and then is fermented by resident flora. This causes good colonic health via higher amounts of good bifidobacteria hence reducing bad pathogens.2
The Flatulence issues are also well known to lentils, due to its high fiber content this meal was a staggering 24.7g in 1 serve! (RDI for fibre for Men 30g and women 25g). There are some strategies to reduce this: cook legumes in fresh water (don’t cook it in the water that you soaked it in); eat small amounts regularly to get your body used to canned beans as they are not as powerful as dried; add a tiny ¼ teaspoon asafoetida spice. 3
Now for the signature dish spices, notably, fenugreek, turmeric and cumin. These herbs and spices have rich antioxidant properties. That’s is they are high in free radicals that reduce oxidative damage to cells linked to cancer, heart disease, inflammation and aging. The antioxidant comes from a chemical in plants called a polyphenol. In a recent study testing via Folin the active polyphenol levels turmeric (high in curry powder was ranked 27) and cumin ranked 65 (in top 100 polyphenols).4
Such a wholesome meal needs to be seriously considered in the regular weekly diet of every Australian. It will bring more variety as a meat free alternative without compromising on nutrition, taste nor budget. Well Done 123 café and fellow Gippslanders’ give it a go.
- Rogers, Jo, 1990, “What Food is that and How Healthy is it?, Landsdowne Publishing, Sydney, p307.
- Catherine Saxalby, 2012, Catherine Saxalbys Complete Food and Nutrition Companion – The Ultimate A to Z guide , Hardie Grant Books, Richmond, p252-253.
- Catherine Saxalby, 2012, Catherine Saxalbys Complete Food and Nutrition Companion – The Ultimate A to Z guide , Hardie Grant Books, Richmond, p253.