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By Nadia Marshall
What are Puy Lentils?
Puy Lentils or French Green Lentils are a type of lentil grown in the thin volcanic soils of the Le Puy region in France. They are small and slate green/grey/blue in colour with a distinctive, rich peppery taste. They are about the same size as red lentils but with a thicker skin so retain their shape upon cooking. This makes them great for stews, casseroles, curries and even warm salads.
What are their qualities?
From an Ayurvedic perspective, Puy Lentils have the following qualities...
Rasa: Sweet, Astringent, Pungent
Actions on the doshas: Tridoshic - balances Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Action on the mind: Sattvic
What are their medicinal qualities?
Puy lentils are another rare food with the sweet/cooling/sweet and light combination. This means they are nourishing for the tissues and immune system but still light and easy to digest. The perfect food! Puy lentils are balancing to all constitutions, are less gas-forming than many other legumes and have a sattvic effect on the mind, meaning they help to cultivate peace, clarity and contentment in the mind. So they are appropriate for people suffering from both physical and mental digestive problems.
The Western viewpoint.
From a Western perspective Puy lentils are a great source of iron, manganese, B1, dietary fibre (both soluble and insoluble) and folate. They are also very low GI (due to their fibre content) and also slightly alkaline. When served with a grain in the same meal, they provide a complete protein.
How do you eat them?
Puy lentils don’t need to be soaked, they cook relatively quickly, they hold their shape upon cooking and taste delicious!! To make Puy Lentils even easier to digest and more balancing to your physiology you simply need to cook them well with a good quality oil to balance their astringency and with herbs and spices that promote good digestion like ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, thyme etc. Their flavour lends itself well to rich middle-eastern and Mediterranean flavours. We usually make them into a thick daal or curry and have them with cous cous, quinoa, bulgar wheat, rice or chapattis.
Why do I love them?
I love the colour of Puy lentils when they are dry (they are so pretty!).... I love the way they taste and I love how good they feel in my belly. They feel much, much better than brown or green lentils and taste so much more distinctive than red lentils! The flavour is so fantastic, you can virtually eat them without any spices at all... but of course adding some helps aid their digestion.
Should anyone avoid eating them?
People with pure Vata constitutions or severe Vata imbalances shouldn’t eat too many lentils of any kind, due to their astringent taste. But in moderation, they are fine for everyone.
Where do you get them from?
You can buy Organic Puy Lentils from most whole-food or healthfood stores. If your local doesn’t stock them, ask them to source them for you. If you live around Northern NSW you can get them from Santos and also The Source in Mullum.
Finally, below is a video showing one way to cook puy lentils... as Moroccan Puy Lentils. It makes a great special lunch or dinner... and tastes even better if served up with a little rocket salad (with olive oil and lemon juice on top). Enjoy xxx
I hope this gets you excited about Puy Lentils! Tell me about your experience with them... and why you love them!
Agni - the digestive fire.
Ama or Aama - undigested food waste, toxins.
Ojas- the foundation of our immune system and longevity.
Dhatus - the tissues of the body.
Srotas - the channels of the body.
Vata - the air/ether
intelligence in the body.
Pitta- the fire/water
intelligence in the body.
Kapha- the water/earth intelligence in the body.
Sattva- the quality of purity, intelligence, peace and love.
Rajas- the quality of
turbulence and activity.
Tamas- the quality of
dullness, darkness and inertia.
Rasa - the taste of a food (Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter, Astringent)
Virya - second level of digestion (either Heating or Cooling)
Vipaka - third level of digestion, the deep taste of a food (can be Sweet, Sour or Pungent)
Prabhav - the 'special effect' of a food or herb/spice
Rasa - also the name for plasma tissue
Rakta - blood tissue
Mamsa - muscle tissue
Meda - fat tissue
Asthi - bone tissue
Majja - nerve & bone marrow tissue
Shukra - sexual reproductive tissue