Chana Dal (Pisum Sativum) are small peas which are peeled and cut in half. This type of Legume dates from 6000 BCE and have been found buried with Egyptian mummies. They were brought to India by the Greeks and are now an important staple food in South Asia.
When cooked they lose their shape and are excellent for thickening soups and stews. Typically used with curry, they can be seasoned with many different herbs.
Rinse 1 cup of dry peas in several changes of cold water, until water runs clear. Cover with unsalted water, bring to boil over medium-high heat, cook for 25-30 minutes until peas are tender but still firm. One cup dry yields 2 cups cooked.
French Green Lentils (Lens esculenta) are a hard-to-find Lentil that are a beautiful deep fall green. These lentils contain a seed coat and are 1/2 cm. wide with a mild, earthly flavor. The French Green Lentils texture is a bit firmer than most other lentils and hold their shape well when cooked. This tiny lens shaped pulse has traditionally been used as a meat substitute (a pulse is the dried seed of any legume, such as beans and peas). Lentils are the seed of a small shrub and are dried after harvesting. Lentils have been eaten for over 8000 years and originated in Southwestern Asia along the Indus River. The are a staple food for many South Asian cultures.
Although frequently considered and eaten as a grain, couscous is a small pasta made from semolina wheat. Most commonly associated with Moroccan cuisine, couscous is enjoyed throughout Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. Due to its quick preparation and health benefits, the popularity of this dish is quickly growing in other parts of the world as well. Whether it is prepared as sweet or savory, couscous is quick, easy to use, and nutritious. Similar to rice, couscous is as versatile as the dish it is served with or can be easily spiced to suit any recipe.