I really like the taste and texture of red lentils and I've been cooking them (sometimes together with rice) as a side dish or as part of the main dish.

However, I wondered if and how you would go about frying them. I'm thinking that maybe the straightforward way of just throwing them into hot oil wouldn't work if they're raw, right? So do I have to soak them beforehand? Should I cook them first?

closed as off-topic by SAJ14SAJ, Mien, KatieK, Aaronut Nov 1 '13 at 13:49

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Requests for recipe recommendations are off-topic; everyone has their own favorites. However, if you have a recipe already you can ask for help improving it - just be specific about what you want." – SAJ14SAJ, Mien, KatieK, Aaronut
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  • If you google "fried lentils" or "fried red lentils" you will find an assortment of recipes. – SAJ14SAJ Oct 20 '13 at 12:06
  • @SAJ14SAJ: Well, I'm not looking for a recipe, I'm looking for specific information about how the lentils themselves want to be fried. Additionally, the random stuff Google spits out as recipes from dubious sites varies greatly in reliability. – bitmask Oct 20 '13 at 12:45
  • I am sorry, but as phrased, your question reads like a veiled recipe request. After all, how do I make X is a way of saying, can I get a recipe for X. Can you focus it on the more specific question or issue that you are interested in? – SAJ14SAJ Oct 20 '13 at 12:49
  • @SAJ14SAJ: Maybe "Assume my entire dish consisted only of red lentils and I wanted them fried, how would I go about doing that?" – bitmask Oct 20 '13 at 12:54
  • 1
    I have also voted to close this question. However, if you want to ask for improvements after trying a method, that would probably make a good question. – KatieK Oct 22 '13 at 17:09

With all dried beans, they should be cooked first. Lentils do remarkably well cooked as rice, which is why they're often paired with rice. A rice cooker set with just lentils, or your favorite pan-rice recipe should work. Lentils don't need to be cooked as long as other beans, so you shouldn't need to pressure cook them, or soak them, like you would other beans.

You can then sauté them in oil, if that's what you want to do. Frying (deep-frying) is not what I would expect with lentils; they sauté well, however.


I cook with red lentils a lot and they are always cooked by some means of boiling, whether in water by themselves or with stock as part of a something else. If you wanted to fry them on their own I would think you'd need to cook them up in water first to soften them, then shallow fry them, maybe with some onions in, a bit like a dahl.

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