In recent years these have become one of the most popular legumes in Europe and the US. They are available in brown, green, orange, yellow and black, and may be bought whole or split, the latter being quicker to cook. Lentils do not need long soaking - 10 minutes is ideal. The smaller yellow and orange lentils purée very easily, which makes them useful in soups. The others retain their shape well after cooking and can be served as a vegetable, on their own, or in casseroles and in salads. Lentils play a particularly important part in Indian cookery, where they are used in curries and side dishes.