Pressure Cooker Masoor Dal (Split Red Lentils) with Spinach

IMG_2150

Every time I have made an Indian dal, I tell myself that I really need to make it in a pressure cooker to save time. Spotting several dal recipes in a pressure cooker cookbook made me take the plunge. Such a time saver! This dish cooks on high pressure for only ONE minute… What have I (or you!) been waiting for? 🙂

This dal is super creamy and thick. I loved that it was loaded with fresh spinach. We ate it served over brown Basmati rice, but because we love scooping it up with naan or roti, bread was an essential add-on to this meal as well. This recipe was adapted from Hip Pressure Cooking: Fast, Fresh, and Flavorful by Laura D.A. Pazzaglia. I think this will wrap up my recent pressure cooker frenzy- for now, at least! 🙂

For the Dal Base:

  • 4 cups dried masoor (red split lentils)
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 T vegetable oil
  • 4 to 6 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 2 T peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger root
  • 2 T pressed garlic
  • 4 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp amchoor (mango powder) (I omitted this)
  • 2 to 4 tsp coarse salt, to taste
  • boiling water, to adjust texture to taste

For the Tadka:

  • 6 T ghee or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 strips of lemon zest
  1. Rinse and drain the red split lentils. Pour into a medium bowl, cover with water and let soak for about 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse, drain, and then add to the base of the pressure cooker.
  2. Add the water, oil, spinach, ginger, garlic, garam masala, turmeric, and amchoor (if using).
  3. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker; cook at high pressure for 1 minute.
  4. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to release naturally as the pot lowers in temperature, about 15 to 20 minutes. (The dal will continue to cook.)
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the tadka: Heat the ghee in a small saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to crackle, stir in the bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and the paprika.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest. Stir well.
  7. When the cooker is open, mix the dal well and add the salt. Adjust the consistency with boiling water as you desire.
  8. Pour the tadka over the dal just before serving. Stir to incorporate, if desired.

Note: Leftover dal can be made into fritters, pan-fried, and served with tzatziki or tahini sauce. Great!!

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Khatti Dal (Sour Lentils), Hyderabad-Style

IMG_7091

I have finally completed my mission to make all four types of dal described in the New York Times article “New York Dals.” This last one, Khatti Dal, may have been the fastest to make. I did not have the toor dal (yellow lentils) called for in the recipe and substituted chana dal (split chickpeas).  Once again, I used a balloon whisk as a stand-in for an Indian mathani to puree the dal; the resulting dish had a little more texture than the others. The “sour” comes from the addition of lime juice or tamarind concentrate- nice! This recipe is from the New York Times, contributed by Mark Bittman. I doubled the recipe (to ensure plenty of leftovers), and served it over brown basmati rice with green salad (instead of sautĂ©ed spinach) and naan on the side. Delicious vegetarian comfort food- I am ready to start the rotation over again!  🙂

Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: about 4 servings
  • 1 cup yellow lentils (toor dal) or chana dal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon green chili or jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup tamarind concentrate or 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or safflower oil, or other neutral oil such as grape seed
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (1-2 cloves)
  • 12 curry leaves (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Combine the dal, turmeric, chili, salt and 4 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles aggressively and steadily and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
  2. Add the tamarind concentrate and 1/2 cup additional water, and let bubble for another minute. Turn off the heat. Use an Indian mathani (or whisk) to purée the dal for about 1 minute; the dal should be saucy but not soupy. IMG_7084
  3. To make the tadka, heat the oil in a small saucepan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cover the pan; let the seeds pop and sizzle. When the popping begins to subside, add the garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 15 seconds. Add the curry leaves, if you’re using them. Cover the pan (to prevent spattering) and cook for about 10 seconds, allowing flavors to meld.
  4. Pour the tadka into the dal; stir gently to combine. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

One Year Ago:

If you like this you may also like:

Makhani Dal (Butter Dal), Mogul-Style

IMG_3647

This was not the most seasonal dish to make in 90 degree heat! BUT- I LOVE dals– so healthy and flavorful, and I have been wanting to try this recipe. This popular Indian dal is rich and super creamy because it has whole milk plain yogurt incorporated in the dal and used again as a topping. This is the third dal that I have made from a New York Times Article written by Mark Bittman called “New York Dals”; I previously made Chilkewali Mung Dal (Split Green Mung Beans), Mumbai-Style and Chana Dal (Split Chickpeas), New Delhi-Style. We ate this with brown Basmati rice and sautĂ©ed Spinach with Garlic and Cumin. It was a “four-burner” meal- dal, tadka, rice, and spinach- but worth it. This was my husband’s favorite dal (so far…). I also doubled the recipe, anything that cooks for 3 1/2 hours needs to be doubled! GREAT!

TOTAL TIME: About 3 1/2 hours, largely unattended
  • 3/4 cup whole black gram beans (sabat urad)
  • 2 tablespoons adzuki beans or pink beans (choti rajma) or red kidney beans
  • 2 tablespoons split chickpeas (chana dal)
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt, whisked
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped tomatoes (canned is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground-red-chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower or safflower oil, or other neutral oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1.
Combine the legumes with 4 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil; cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the pot; let the legumes soak for 2 hours.
2.
Add the whole-milk yogurt, 1 cup onions, tomatoes, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, paprika, chili and salt to the pot and bring to a boil once more. Cook, partly covered, over low heat for 90 minutes, or until the dal is very soft. Turn off the heat and use an Indian mathani (or balloon whisk) to purée the dal for about 1 minute; it should be saucy but not soupy.
IMG_3645
3.
To make the tadka, heat the oil in a small saucepan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the remaining cup of onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until medium brown. Turn off the heat and stir in the cumin and garam masala.IMG_3643
4.
Transfer the dal to a large bowl and cover with the low-fat yogurt (we used whole-milk!); top with tadka, stir gently and serve.
YIELD: About 4-6 servings

Chana Dal (Split Chickpeas), New Delhi-Style

Chana Dal New Delhi Style

Garlic! Spicy! My favorite combination! I doubled this recipe. The resulting dish is well seasoned and creamy with crispy browned garlic slivers providing pockets of contrasting texture- yum. We ate it over rice, with whole-wheat naan and sauteed spinach (Mughlai Saag) on the side. This is my second dish from the New York Times article about New York Dals by Mark Bittman. The cooking time is about one hour (most of it unattended)- but I may try to cook the beans in a pressure cooker next time to expedite the process.

  • 1 cup split chickpeas (chana dal)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf, preferably Indian
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or safflower oil (I used canola)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 4-5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed-red-chili flakes (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
1.
Combine the chana dal, turmeric, cardamom, bay leaf, salt and 4 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently, cover partly and cook for 40 minutes. At that point, the mixture should still be quite moist; if it is not, add 1 cup additional water and continue cooking, covered, until the dal is tender, about 20 minutes; turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaf. Use an Indian mathani (or whisk) to purée the dal for about 1 minute; the dal should be saucy but not soupy.
2.
To make the tadka, put the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cloves; let sizzle for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until medium brown. Stir in the chili flakes if you’re using them, and turn off the heat.
3.
Pour the tadka into the dal; stir gently to combine. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
YIELD:
About 4 servings
Chana Dal Tadka

Chilkewali Mung Dal (Split Green Mung Beans), Mumbai-Style

MBittman Chilkewali Mung Dal

When I knew that we might be near this wonderful Indian grocery, Apna Bazar in Hicksville, New York, I grabbed an article about “New York Dals” written by Mark Bittman for the New York Times and made my ingredient list. I bought fresh curry leaves for the first time, so I made the dish that used them first- Chilkewali Mung Dal.  I served it with sautĂ©ed spinach with garlic and cumin, brown rice, and two types of Indian bread.  I had to substitute a balloon whisk for an Indian mathani to try and achieve the right consistency.  I didn’t know anything about which type of bread to serve, so we tried 2 types– next time I go to Apna Bazar I will try one of the many other types available! This is a wonderful dish- I LOVED IT!  I am looking forward to trying the other dal recipes from the same New York Times article.

  • 1 cup split green mung beans (chilkewali mung dal)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced and seeded hot green chili
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned is fine)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or safflower oil, or other neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons julienned fresh ginger
  • 12 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Combine the dal, turmeric, garlic, chili, onions, tomatoes, brown sugar, salt and 4 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently, and cook, covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Partly uncover and continue cooking for another 15 minutes, until the dal is tender; turn off the heat. Use an Indian mathani (or balloon whisk) to purée the dal for about 1 minute; the dal should be saucy but not soupy.
  2. To make the tadka, heat the oil in a small saucepan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cover the pan; let the seeds pop and sizzle. When the popping begins to subside, add the ginger and cook until lightly browned, about 15 seconds, and add the curry leaves, if you’re using them. Turn off the heat and stir in the cumin.
  3. Pour the tadka (pictured below) into the dal; stir gently to combine. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
YIELD: About 4 servings
MBittman TadkaImage

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,292 other followers

Recipe Categories

my foodgawker gallery
my photos on tastespotting

Top Posts & Pages

Churro Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Bread Machine Brioche
Chicken Stew with Biscuits
Rick Bayless' Classic Mexican Fried Beans with Onions & Garlic
Vegetarian Carbonara with Spinach
Banana Bread with Crunchy Sugar Topping
Vaguely Vietnamese Slow Cooker Pork Tacos
Crusty Sourdough Rolls
Thai Corn Chowder
Raspberry Meringue Kisses
Foodista Food Blog of the Day Badge
%d bloggers like this: