Dal is a staple food across many parts of Asia including Nepal. This lentil dish is full of protein and fiber but can take a while to cook traditionally on the stove.
Using a pressure cooker is a game-changer for cooking dal quickly while still retaining all the flavor. In this blog post, we will explore how cooking dal in a pressure cooker results in quick and flavorful lentils every time.
How Do Pressure Cookers Work?
Pressure cookers are specially designed pots with an air-tight lid that allows pressure to build up inside as steam is generated.
The increased pressure raises the boiling point of the water above 100°C. This high-pressure environment cooks food much faster by rapidly breaking down fibers in vegetables, grains and lentils.
Food can cook up to 70% faster in a pressure cooker compared to normal pots. This makes pressure cookers ideal for cooking dried beans, lentils, rice and tough meats in a fraction of the normal time.
Benefits of Cooking Dal in a Pressure Cooker
There are many benefits to cooking dal in a pressure cooker versus traditional stove-top methods:
- Save time – Lentils and beans can take a while to soften and become tender on the stove. Pressure cooking cuts the cooking time by more than half.
- Conserves fuel – The accelerated cooking uses less energy than boiling in an open pot for over an hour.
- Maintain nutrients – Cooking under pressure retains more vitamins and minerals compared to boiling.
- Intensifies flavor – The pressurized environment infuses dal with more flavor from spices and results in a richer taste.
- Versatile – Most pressure cookers have settings for cooking rice, meat, vegetables etc. in addition to lentils.
Tips for Cooking Dal in a Pressure Cooker
Follow these tips for a foolproof, flavorful dal from your pressure cooker:
- Pick a pressure cooker with at least a 6 liter capacity. This allows dal and water to circulate.
- Rinse lentils well before cooking to remove any dirt or debris.
- Add lentils and water in a 1:3 ratio i.e. 1 part lentils to 3 parts water.
- Pressure cook for 6-8 whistles for most lentil varieties. Adjust cooking time as needed.
- Use the sauté function on electric cookers to brown onions, garlic, spices before pressure cooking.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally for 5-10 minutes before opening the lid.
- Finish with tadka by tempering cumin, mustard seeds etc. in ghee/oil for added flavor.
- Adjust consistency by adding extra water after cooking if the dal looks too thick.
My Favorite Pressure Cooker Dal Recipe
Now that you know how quick and easy it is to make dal in a pressure cooker, try out this tasty recipe:
- 1 cup dal (any dal you prefer)
- 3 cups water
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1⁄2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp ghee
- Rinse the dal well. Add to pressure cooker with 3 cups water.
- Pressure cook for 6 whistles then let all steam release before opening lid.
- Heat ghee in a small saucepan. Add cumin and let crackle.
- Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 1 min.
- Add tomato and spices. Sauté for 2-3 minutes till tomato is soft.
- Add this tempering to the cooked dal. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro and enjoy it hot!
Cooking dal in a pressure cooker results in tender lentils in less than half the normal time. Intense heat and pressure preserve nutrients while building deep, robust flavors.
Follow the tips above to whip up a quick and flavorful dal that is perfectly paired with rice or roti.
Investing in a good pressure cooker can drastically improve and speed up cooking lentils, beans and other dishes.
Give pressure cooked dal a try for a taste of convenience without compromising on taste.
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