How to Make Lentil Flour


Strictly speaking, flour is anything ground to powder. Most people associate flour with cereal grains, like the type used in all-purpose flour, but there's a host of flours made from roots, seeds, rice and legumes that lend specific tastes and textures to the dishes they're used in. Urad dal, a hulled and split lentil, is a staple in the breads of Punjabi and South Indian cuisine, where it doubles as a thickening agent. You can grind just about any lentil into a flour, but urad dal has a well-rounded, mild flavor that works in just about any dish.

Things You'll Need

  • Whole urad dal lentils
  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Colander or sieve
  • Paper towels or kitchen towels
  • Large saute pan
  • Spice grinder
  • Dry white rice
  • Pour the lentils out in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and look them over. Discard any damaged, misshapen or blemished lentils.

  • Pour the lentils in a colander or sieve and rinse them under cool running water to remove dust and field debris. Let the lentils drain over the sink or a bowl.

  • Line the work surface with a few layers of paper towels or a couple of kitchen towels. Pour the lentils out onto the towels and spread them out in an even layer.

  • Blot the top of the lentils with a paper towel and let them air dry for about one hour to ensure they're moisture-free.

  • Place the lentils in an even layer in a large dry saute pan. Place the pan on the stove and set the heat to medium.

  • Toast the lentils until they develop a nutty aroma and a light golden-brown color, stirring or flipping the lentils occasionally. Pour the toasted urad dal lentils in a bowl and let them reach room temperature. Work in batches if you have too many lentils to fit in the pan in an even layer.

  • Pour the lentils into the grinding bowl of a spice grinder. The capacity of grinding bowls varies among grinder models, but filling it about half-full grinds each batch of lentils without overheating them and putting too much stress on the motor.

  • Grind the lentils to a fine powder, about 30 to 45 seconds. Fully ground lentil flour should have the same texture as regular all-purpose flour.

  • Empty the grinder bowl and continue grinding lentils, working in batches if needed. Store lentil flour in an airtight food-storage container until you're ready to use it.

  • Clean the grinder by adding about 1/4 cup of dry white rice and grinding it to a fine powder. Wipe out the bowl and blades with a moist cloth.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also use an old-fashioned flour mill to make lentil flour. Or, if you really want a workout, you can use a mortar and pestle.

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