How to Cook Lentils?/All About Lentils

Dal usually describes split peas, lentils, and peas. Dal provides a good source of protein.

How to Buy Lentils?

Lentils are usually prepackaged in bags and sold in bulk. While buying lentils, make sure lentils are uniform in size and color and also not be cracked or broken. Lentil should seem to be fresh enough and not have very small pinholes in them (pinholes usually occur because of insect damage). Lentil package should not have moisture damage. Avoid lentils packets with excessive white powdering. To be on a safer side, buy lentils from stores that have a steady sale and restock.

How to Store Lentils?

Do not mix the lentils in the pantry with the newly purchased lentils because the old lentils will be dryer than the fresh ones. Also, the different degrees of dryness will cause the lentils to cook unevenly. It is best to store lentils in an airtight container in a cool dry area out of the direct sunlight.

Cooked lentils can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

How to Know Lentils are Expiring?

Lentils color will fade and take longer to cook. It will also be very dry. It is best not to use lentils which are more than 12 months of purchase.

Know About Some Lentils Used In Cooking

Black lentils (Whole urad dal-ulundhu). Black lentils are whole, split and even its skin removed. When the skin is removed, it would be creamy color.

Brown lentils (Horse gram – kollu). Brown lentils are plumpy with an earthly color. They retain their shape well when boiled and become mushy when they are overcooked.

Red Lentils (Masoor Dal). When cooked, red lentils turn orangish color, do not hold their shape very well and also tend to become mushy.

Moong Dal (Split and whole). When cooked, moong dal do not hold their shape very well and tend to become mushy.

Yellow lentils (Toor dal – Thuvaram paruppu). Yellow lentil are soft skinned. Most popular lentil and takes a bit longer time to cook than moong dal.

Yellow split peas: (Channa dal – Kadalai paruppu). Channa dal are dull yellow and take longer time to cook when compared to other dals. Soaking channa dal overnight in water will help to cook faster.

 

Lentils Cooking Time – In Pressure Cooker

Dal
 Quantity
Water
Pressure Cooking Time
Toor Dal 1 cup 3 cups 10 mins
Channa Dal 1 cup 3 cups 12 mins
Masoor Dal 1 cup 4 cups 15 mins
Yellow Split Moong Dal 1 cup 3 cups  8 mins
Whole Green Moong Dal 1 cup 4 cups 18 mins

 

Lentils Cooking Time – In Stove Top With a Cover

Dal – 1 Cup
Soaking Time
Water
Cooking Time (On a Low Flame)
Toor Dal No Soaking 4.5 cups 30 mins
Channa Dal No Soaking 3.5 cups 30 mins
Masoor Dal No Soaking 3.5 cups 25 mins
Yellow Split Moong Dal No Soaking 4 cups 25 mins
Whole Green Moong Dal  25 mins 5 cups 25 mins

 

Cooking Lentils

Lentils slightly require different cooking times so the required amount of water and length of the cooking time varies. Also the cooking time and the quantity of water required depend on the quality of the lentils and how old the lentils are.

Lentils can be cooked in a pressure cooker, microwave oven, and stove top.

For all the three methods, the ingredients needed to cook the lentils remain the same.

 

Ingredients

Dal – 1 cup

Salt  – a pinch (optional)

Turmeric powder – a pinch (optional)

Water – 3 cups

Baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) – 1/2 teaspoon (optional)

 

Preparation

1. Stove Top Method
Wash Lentils.

Wash the lentils thoroughly under running water to get rid of small stones and sticks, dust, shriveled lentils, and impurities.

Soak Lentils (if necessary)

Soak the lentils in water for an hour. This will help the lentils get cooked faster.

Cook the Lentils

Heat 3 cups of water in a pan and add the dal. Cook the dal covered by a lid over medium-low heat for about 40 minutes. Some dal may take even a longer time. At this point, you should only see a few bubbles. Stir occasionally. Add the baking soda (optional) and mix it around with a spoon.Then, you would see foam floating on the top of the dal. Once the dal is almost cooked, cook the dal uncovered over low heat. Remove the floating foam and you can use it for Sambar and Rasam. Make sure dal does not get cooked over. If water is not sufficient, add more water as needed.

Season the Lentils

When lentils become tender and are no longer crunchy, add salt as desired. Add any seasonings being used, reserving the salt.

Now, use the cooked dal to the dish you want to prepare.

 

 

2. Pressure Cooker Method

Wash Lentils.

Wash the lentils thoroughly under running water to get rid of small stones and sticks, dust, shriveled lentils, and impurities.


Soak Lentils (if necessary)

Soak the lentils in water for an hour. This will help the lentils get cooked faster.


Cook the Lentils

In a pressure cooker, combine 1 cup of toor dal and 4 cups of water.If you want, you could add a pinch of turmeric powder and salt. If you want dal to be thick, 3 cups is enough. If you want it to be watery, then add 4 cups of water.Close the cooker and boil the dal for 5 minutes.

When pressure starts building up, put weight on the cooker. Cook for 3 whistles. Once you get three whistles, wait for some time to  get the pressure released (may be 10 minutes) then open the cooker.

Now, the mushy dal is ready!

 

3. Microwave Method

This method takes about the same amount of time as cooking the dal in a pressure cooker.

Wash Lentils.

Wash the lentils thoroughly under running water to get rid of small stones and sticks, dust, shriveled lentils, and impurities.

Soak Lentils (if necessary)

Soak the lentils in water for an hour. This will help the lentils get cooked faster.

Cook the Lentils

In a microwave safe dish, add 3 cups of water and 1 cup of dal. Cover it with a lid. The lid will trap the steam and help to cook the dal faster. Microwave one cup of dal on high heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Cook longer for larger quantities.

 

When Is the Dal Ready?

When lentils are cooked but have a firm texture, the dal is done. You can use this firm dal for making soup or stew.

When lentils can be mashed with a spoon, the dal is done. You can use this mushy dal for making Sambar, Soup, and Rasam.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Why pressure cook?

Pressure cooker saves a lot of your cooking time, energy, and gas. It takes half the time to cook lentils in pressure cooker when compared to stove top method. When you have to cook dal everyday and have many people at home, cooking dal using pressure cooker is a wise method.

2. What to do if you add less water to the lentils in the pressure cooker?

For example, 1 cup of dal = 1 cup of water

The pressure in the cooker will increase and cause the dal to burn at the bottom. As a result dal will stick to the cooker and you will not hear any whistles. The pressure cooker may also explode out of pressure.

3. What to do if you add more water to the lentils in the pressure cooker?

For example, 1 cup of dal = 6 cups of water

Dal will overflow and be very watery. Whistle may also come/fly off.

4. What are the dals that need not be soaked?

Lentils like toor dal, urad dal, masoor dal, channa dal, and moong dal don’t need to be soaked.

5. What are the dals that need to be soaked?

Horse gram (kollu)

6. Why baking soda?

Baking soda is commonly used to cook lentils. It softens the lentils and cooks them faster.

7. How to cook lentils faster?

Sometimes even after 10 whistles, dal doest not get cooked properly. In order to cook the dal faster, you can do the following:

a. Use baking soda while cooking the dal

b. Soak lentils overnight. In case you forget to soak overnight or for 8 hours, soak the lentils in boiled water for a minimum of 30 minutes.

c. Use few drops of sesame oil while you pressure cook the lentils.

 

Recipes Using Dal

Black lentils (Whole urad dal-ulundhu)
Dosa batter, Rice And Dal AdaiPeerkankai Thoel Thogayal,

 

Brown lentils (Horse gram – kollu)

 

Red Lentils (Masoor Dal)

 

Moong Dal (Split and whole)
Palak Masala PongalMoong Dal ParathaPotato Moong DalCauliflower and Carrot KootuDal TadkaVazhaipoo Kootu (Banana Blossom Curry),

Yellow lentils (Toor dal – Thuvaram paruppu)
Dal DosaMalayala AdaiCauliflower and Carrot KootuParuppu ThuvaiyalBeans Paruppu UsiliApple RasamCapsicum Sambar,

Yellow split peas: (Channa dal – Kadalai paruppu)
Rice And Dal AdaiCauliflower and Carrot KootuBeans Paruppu UsiliCorn Vada,

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