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January 6, 2008 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Help- I keep burning my chana dal in the crock pot.....

I am new to crock pot cooking. Please share your procedures (the more detailed, the better) for preparing chana dal in a slow cooker! (Including when to use low vs. high setting...)

Any other tried and true recipes/ tips on slow cookers are welcome (and needed) especially for vegetarian cooking/ how to not come home to burnt beans.....

posted by mistsandrain to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have a crock pot but you probably just need more water.
posted by beerbajay at 7:58 AM on January 6, 2008

Are you soaking the chana dal before hand? They'll cook faster that way. Make sure the crockpot is on the lowest setting. And yes, you need lots of water.
posted by peacheater at 8:05 AM on January 6, 2008

Sometimes just having too big a crock pot for the volume you're trying to make will always burn whatever you're making if it's thinly spread out on the bottom; in that case, even the lowest setting won't help. If lowering heat settings doesn't work, you can try increasing the number of servings or ultimately getting a smaller crock pot. I also remember reading somewhere about a crockpot recall where the heat settings were messed up, but I'm afraid I don't know details about that.
posted by Ky at 8:12 AM on January 6, 2008

Could you post the recipe you're using, or at least the ratio of water to dal, and how long you're cooking it? I tend to agree with beerbajay that you're probably just using too little water. Your ratio should be be between 1:3 to 1:3.5 of dal to water. Also, you don't need to use a slow cooker, if you have about an hour and a half when you're going to be around. Using about a cup and a half of dal, and five and a half cups of water, you can cook the dal on a stove top in a heavy pot (I use a Le Creuset). Just bring it to a boil, and then, after you've removed any foam off the top, reduce to a simmer and cover, leaving a small opening to prevent it from boiling over. Let it cook for an hour or so, checking periodically to make sure it's not sticking to the bottom. Then cook it for an additional half hour, stirring it every five minutes. You can add your seasonings to the pot while it's cooking, thus saving yourself a little time.

If you don't have the time for the above method, consider investing in a pressure cooker. The one I've linked to is slightly expensive, but you can find cheaper ones out there. It reduces the cooking time for dal to about ten minutes.
posted by lassie at 8:19 AM on January 6, 2008

Sorry, I should have said that I don't own a crock pot, so the ratios I used in my answer are for stove top cooking.
posted by lassie at 8:20 AM on January 6, 2008

If you don't have the time for the above method, consider investing in a pressure cooker.

Pressure cookers are bloody genius. Use them to soften up your čana before cooking further.

Where are you? Some South Asian stores stock these tiny aluminum 1 litre models for under ten dollars.ou
posted by sushiwiththejury at 1:20 PM on January 6, 2008

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