Preparation / Directions:
I'll tell you what I do with dal. I simmer it for several hours! Most dal recipes that I've read say to cook the dal for as little as 30 minutes. I don't like dal where the lentils are still whole, I like my dal thicker and more mushy (for lack of a better word). I know people who use a pressure cooker to do in 30 minutes what I take hours to do, but I'm not too keen on pressure cookers.
Here's the dal recipe that I use most often. I've posted it many times before, but I think it's one of the best. My idea of comfort food is a big bowl of dal and some hot naan to dunk in it and eat with my fingers. .
This recipe states to simmer the dal for 40 minutes. As I stated above, I simmer it for several hours, adding a little water if it gets too thick. The red lentils called for are also known as masoor dal. I often use a combination of toor (toovar) dal, channa dal, moong dal, and masoor dal. It's a good mixture. The moong dal really helps to thicken it up, because they break down faster than the other dals. The toor (toovar) dal really needs several hours of cooking to break down, being the hardest of the dals I've mentioned.
I've used a slow cooker for dal. I wasn't as happy with the result as when I did it on top of the stove. I guess I just like a little more control of the process. If you choose to use a slow cooker, you won't want to add as much liquid as the recipe calls for, since slow cookers don't allow much evaporation. Also use the shift setting, which starts the cooker on high and then shifts to low for the majority of the cooking time. I'd also let it cook for at least 8 hours or until it gets to the consistency you like. Experiment with it and you may find this is the best method for you.Dals and Pressure Cookers
Here is a bit more information on types of dals and how to pressure cook:
Chana Dal - split yellow chickpeas, used in baghars and in chutneys
Kabuli Chana - whole large white chickpeas, may be cream colored, used in curries, Punjabi style
Khatte Cholle - small dark wrinkled chickpeas - take FOREVER to soak and cook.
Urad Dal - Split Black Gram, white in color, used in baghars and in South Indian dishes which are fermented **may be whole (black), split with hull (black and white), split without hull(white)
Lobhia- dried black eyed peas.
Masoor dal - small pink (split) lentils which turn yellow after cooking, used in curries and soups
Moong dal - smaller yellow mung beans, used in curries and soups.
Matar dal - split green peas, used in curries
Rajma - kidney beans
Aduki - smaller red beans
Moth - very tiny small whole green ??
Sabat masoor - green lentils, used in soups and curries
Safed moong - split mung beans, pale yellow in color, used in rice dishes and curries.
Oor dal (toovar dal) - split pigeon peas which look like yellow split peas. May greasy (oily) or washed.
GUIDE TO PRESURE COOKING DALS
By By Elizabeth Williams
Type of dal Soaking Time Dal:Water Ratio Cooking Time
Whole, chickpeas, 8 hrs or overnight 1 to 3 1/2 kidney beans, black-eyed peas, kala channa dal
Whole aduki beans, 5 hrs or overnight 1 to 3 mung beans, urad beans, muth(moth?) beans
Split: mung dal, no soaking required 1 to 6 for soup
urad dal, 20-30 minutes 1 to 4 masoor dal
Split: toovar dal 3 hours 1 to 6 1/2 for soup chana dal 5 hours split peas 5 hours
To put to rest fears about pressure cookers:
Some manufacturers caution against cooking dried peas and beans in a pressure cooker, because legumes cooked WITHOUT enough water or insufficiently washed tend to froth up and clog the vent. To prevent this, fill the pressure cooker no more than half full; use at least 6 parts water to 1 part split dal or 3 parts water to 1 part whole beans and keep the heat moderately low. The first few times you cook dals, watch for signs of clogging, such as a suddenly still vent weight. If this happens, take the pan off the heat, put it in the sink and run lukewarm water over it, gradually changing to cold. After several minutes, tilt the weight and slowly reduce the pressure, aiming the release away from you. Finish cooking the dal, covered but not under pressure.
Using a pressure cooker for kabuli channa to make hummus is a wonderful help. Also some dals are harder to cook depending on their age and this is a great help. Pre-Soaki