Quick Dals?
September 17, 2009 3:20 PM   Subscribe

Recommendations for good pressure cooker indian recipes?

I'm especially interested in good, working recipes for making dals (and other cheap foods). I've got a pressure cooker, which I've used to make very good lamb saag. I own Madhur Jaffrey's _Quick and Easy Indian Cooking_ already.
posted by leahwrenn to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I think the chana ki dal recipe on this page works well, though I never found out what "varia" are. Maybe cardamom pods. There are several pressure-cooker dal recipes on the page.
posted by galaksit at 3:51 PM on September 17, 2009

Galaksit, I bet "varia" is another name/transliteration for badi, more frequently called mung badi. These are little dollops of dal paste, deep fried or baked, that add crunch kind of like the way croutons do. The link gives a recipe for making your own, but well-stocked Indian groceries have them in bags or boxes. They can be plain or spiced, but are always crunchy and salty.
posted by Quietgal at 4:07 PM on September 17, 2009

Thanks, that's really useful!
posted by galaksit at 4:10 PM on September 17, 2009

Oops, posted before answering the actual question. My favorite source for Indian legume recipes is Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi. She has lots of recipes for dal and generally gives methods for both pressure cooking and regular simmering.

Note: I find that most split dals and lentils cook just fine without a pressure cooker, in about a half hour. When you factor in the time it takes to get the pressure cooker up to pressure, and then vent the pressure slowly enough to not spatter dal all over the wall (it happens - don't ask me how I know), it's not that much faster than regular simmering. For large whole beans it saves time but I don't bother for the small stuff.
posted by Quietgal at 4:16 PM on September 17, 2009

I'll second Quietgal on the "most split dals and lentils cook in about half an hour".

Urad dal (skinned, split black lentils -- these are cream colored), moong dal (skinned, split green lentils -- these are yellow), chana dal (yellow split peas, iirc), toovar dal (split pigeon peas, sort of yellow) all cook in about twenty or thirty minutes. Masoor dal (skinned, split brown lentils. Raw, they are orange. Cooked, they are yellow.) cooks in like fifteen minutes.

My favorite book for indian legume recipes is Ragahavan Iyer's 660 Curries (I've eaten more than half of the dal recipes and they're overwhelmingly tasty.). His recipes are straightforward, very approachable for the novice Indian food cook. Recipes involving heavier legumes (chickpeas, kidney beans, horse gram, black-eyed peas) sometimes include pressure cooker directions but recipes using the lighter dal discussed above do not generally have pressure-cooker directions.

I still recommend the book -- it hasn't let me down yet and it's got a good selection of legume-based recipes. (Dinner tonight at my house was actually p. 370, skinned split black lentils with spinach -- I used kale instead because I like it better and because it was on sale at the grocery.)
posted by which_chick at 7:14 PM on September 17, 2009

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