Category Archives: Others

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,

How to Choose and Cut a Pineapple?

Know About the Pineapple

Pineapple is rich in fiber and calories. It is low in fat and cholesterol. Pineapple fights against cold, strengthens bones and gums, and prevents sinusitis and cancers etc. Pineapples are best eaten fresh and has a variety of flavors – salty, sweet and tangy. The best tasting parts of the pineapple are on the very edge, so getting the cut right is important. For many, choosing and cutting a pineapple may seem a very difficult task compared to most fruits. This post will show you how to cut a pineapple with minimal strain and mess.

Choose the Pineapple

You can know if the pineapple is ripe by smelling it, looking at its appearance and observing the color of its leaves.

Smell the Pineapple

If the bottom of the pineapple smells fresh and ripe (as seen in the pictures below), then the pineapple is ripe. When you press the pineapple, it should still be firm with just a little give.How to choose and cut a pineapple?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the pineapple smells fermented, then the pineapple is overripe. When you press the pineapple, it would be very soft. If the pineapple smells unripe or unsweet, then the pineapple is unripe.

Appearance of the Pineapple

The pineapple should be heavy for its size. A heavier pineapple means a juicier pineapple. The pineapple can have some green on the sides, but should not be completely green (as seen in the picture below). It should be turning golden yellow at the bottom and around the eyes on the sides. Pineapples are ripe if they are well developed with round edges. They should have relatively flat and developed eyes. Avoid pineapples with wrinkled skin, reddish-brown skin, cracks or leaks, mold, or brown withering leaves.

Look at the Color of the Leaves

Choose pineapples with healthy and green leaves (as seen in the picture below). Pineapple is ripe if a leaf can be plucked from the top of the pineapple without much resistance. If a leaf comes out too easily, then the pineapple may be rotten.

Cut the Pineapple

Yield. One pineapple yield about 4 to 5 cups of pineapple cubes.

Tools Required

Cutting board Sharp knife Pineapple

Directions

Step 1

Make sure your pineapple is ripe. Place the pineapple upright on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut off the crown and about a half inch of the top of the pineapple.

Step 2 Make sure that the base of the pineapple is stable before slicing off the fruit skin. Place the pineapple on its side on the cutting board, and cut the bottom/stem half inch of the pineapple.

Step 3 Make the pineapple stand on its side. The golden part of the pineapple is considered to be ripest and sweetest. Start cutting the pineapple skin off of the sides in strips. Be careful not to cut off the ripe and sweet part.

Step 4 Depending on how close you sliced the pineapple strip, you will most likely see many eye spots. When you eat pineapple slices, these eye spots may be bothering you so it is better to remove the eye spots.

How to remove the eye spots

Option 1. You can cut and remove the eye spots by using a pairing or sharp knife (as shown in the picture). You do not waste a lot of pineapple flesh this way, but it is bit time consuming to remove each and every eye spot.

 

Option 2. You can remove the eye spots using a mellon baller or potato peeler easily.
Option 3. Eye spots usually line up in diagonal rows (in the picture below you can see the eye spots lined up diagonally as shown by the knife). You can cut the eye spots diagonally and remove the eye spots. Once the eye spots are removed throughout the pineapple, the remaining flesh is ready for cutting now into cubes. You will have to lose bit more of the pineapple flesh when you remove the eye spots this way. On the other hand, it takes very less time rather than removing each eye spot one by one.

Step 5

Place the pineapple on its side and start cutting its sides, from top to bottom, until you are left only with the flesh of the pineapple. Do not cut the strips so deep as to cut away the eyes.

 

Step 6

Now, the pineapple is ready to be cut further into cubes or perfect round depending on how you are going to serve it.

Chunks/cubes

Cut the pineapple into quarters length-wise strips. Lay each of the strips down and slice them into cubes/chunks.

 

Perfect round

Just lay the pineapple cylinder on its side. Cut it into 3/4 inch rounds. If you want pineapple rings, then using a sharp knife, cut the core. You can also use pineapple corers to remove the pineapple core with very less effort. Pineapple corers. Place the pineapple upright and place the corer in the center of the pineapple. With little force, push down the corer until you reach the bottom of the pineapple. You can keep the pineapple core aside for some other uses or discard it. OXO Good Grips Ratcheting Pineapple Slicer Now, you will have perfect pineapple rings.

Store the Pineapple

A whole refrigerated pineapple can stay good for two weeks. You can refrigerate the pineapple chunks for up to a week in an airtight container. Do not leave cut pineapple out in a room temperature setting. You can freeze cut pineapple for up to six months but freezing pineapples will lose its flavor.

Recycle Pineapple Parts

Pineapple Skin

You can reuse pineapple’s skin for the following:

1. Pineapple Skin Juice

Presence of sun. Put the skin and core of a pineapple with enough water in a container and close it with a lid. Leave out in the sun for several hours until the water turns yellow. Now, strain the tea and serve chill. At home. Boil the skin and core of the pineapple in water for few minutes until water turns yellow. Then, turn off the stove and strain the tea. Serve chill.

2. Pineapple Pot Pourri

Please check http://www.ehow.com/how_6385743_make-potpourri-out-dried-fruit.html.

3. Pineapple Vinegar 

Source. http://www.squidoo.com/pineapple-skin-uses#module165753123 Serves: 2 quarts Total time: 36 hours Make sure your water is filtered, or at least non-chlorinated. Chlorine will kill all the bacteria necessary for fermentation. Ingredients

  • Skin & core of 1 pineapple
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • pinch red chile flakes

Instructions Place all the ingredients together in a large glass bowl or jar. Cover with a cheesecloth to protect from flies. Leave at room temperature for around 36hours. The vinegar should be lightly acidic, with an aroma of pineapples. Skim any foam off the top, remove pineapple pieces and strain the vinegar into clean jars. Close the jars tightly. The vinegar will keep for several months in a cool place.

4. Pineapple Peel Foot Scrub

Source. http://www.squidoo.com/pineapple-skin-uses#module165753123 Blend the pineapple scraps in a blender to form a coarse paste. Apply the paste to your feet and leave it for 20 minutes. Rub your skin in small circular motions. 5.  Clean Wooden Cutting Board Use the pineapple skin to scrub and clean the cutting board. Rinse the board using warm water and dry it.

6. Use as a compost

Use pineapple skin along with other vegetables’ skin and form a compost. How to make a pineapple compost? Check http://homeguides.sfgate.com/compost-pineapples-25462.html

Pineapple Crown

Place the pineapple crown in water until you see the roots grow. Now, re-plant the crown in a pretty moist soil, water it everyday, and make it grow into new pineapples in a few years (mostly 18 months).

How to Peel Almonds?

Peeling almonds is a very easy task. When one of my friends make Badam Halwa, I’ve heard her saying that she would soak almonds in cold water overnight. In the morning, she would get up and peel its skin. After a year or so, I decided to make Badam Halwa for a festival. When I spoke to my mother about peeling almonds skin, then she gave me this easy tip. I shared this tip with my friend too. Now, here you go…

Peel almond’s skin in 10 minutes and then try out your favorite Almond recipe.

How to Peel Almonds?

Boil water in a pan. The quantity of the water should be more than the almonds. Example, For 1 cup of almonds, boil 3 to 4 cups of water. Transfer the hot water to a bowl and add the raw shelled almonds. Set it aside for 10 minutes.

How to Peel Almonds?

 

 

Drain almonds and run under cold water so that it is cool enough to handle.

Now, hold the almond between your thumb and index finger, squeeze the almond and the peel just comes off. If not, just scrap the almond using a knife. The skin would come out very easily.

How to Peel Almonds?

 

Drain the almonds on paper towels.

Peeled Almonds are ready!

How to Peel Almonds?

 

Note. If almonds stay in water too long, they would get soggy.

You may like to try out the following dishes that use peeled almonds.

Badam Halwa (Almond Halwa)Pineapple Sweet Rice, Dry Nuts Kozhukattai, Milk Kheer (Pal Payasam), Mohan Dhal,

Measurements

Liquid Measures

1 gal = 4 qt = 8 pt = 16 cups = 128 fl oz

1/2 gal = 2 qt = 4 pt = 8 cups = 64 fl oz

1/4 gal = 1 qt = 2 pt = 4 cups = 32 fl oz

1/2 qt = 1 pt = 2 cups = 16 fl oz

1/4 qt = 1?2 pt = 1 cup = 8 fl oz

 

Dry Measures

1 cup = 16 Tbsp = 48 tsp = 250ml

3/4cup = 12Tbsp = 36tsp = 175ml

2/3 cup = 10 2/3 Tbsp = 32 tsp = 150ml

1/2 cup = 8 Tbsp = 24 tsp = 125ml

1/3 cup = 5 1/3 Tbsp = 16 tsp = 75ml

1/4 cup = 4 Tbsp = 12 tsp = 50ml

1/8 cup = 2 Tbsp = 6 tsp = 30ml

1 Tbsp = 3 tsp = 15ml

Dash or Pinch or Speck = less than 1/8 tsp

 

Quickies

1 fl oz = 30 ml

1 oz = 28.35 g

1 lb = 16 oz (454 g)

1 kg = 2.2 lb

1 quart = 2 pints

 

U.S. 1/4 tsp/Canada = 1.25mL

U.S. 1/2 tsp/Canada = 2.5mL

U.S. 1 tsp/Canada = 5mL

U.S. 1 Tbl/Canada =15 mL

U.S. 1/4 cup/Canada = 50 mL

U.S. 1/3 cup/Canada = 75 mL

U.S. 1/2 cup/Canada = 125 mL

U.S. 2/3 cup/Canada = 150 mL

U.S. 3/4 cup/Canada = 175 mL

U.S. 1 cup/Canada =  250 mL

U.S. 1 quart/Canada = 1 liter

 

Recipe Abbreviations

Cup = c or C

Fluid = fl

Gallon = gal

Ounce = oz

Package = pkg

Pint = pt

Pound = lb or #

Quart = qt

Square = sq

T ablespoon = T or Tbl or TBSP or TBS

Teaspoon = t or tsp

 

Fahrenheit (°F) to Celcius (°C) °C = (°F – 32) x 5/9

32°F = 0°C

40°F =  4°C

140°F = 60°C

150°F = 65°C

160°F = 70°C

225°F = 107°C

250°F = 121°C

275°F = 135°C

300°F = 150°C

325°F = 165°C

350°F = 177°C

375°F = 190°C

400°F =  205°C

425°F = 220°C

450°F =  230°C

475°F =  245°C

500°F =  260°C

 

OVEN TEMPERATURES

WARMING: 200°F

VERY SLOW: 250°F – 275°F

SLOW: 300°F – 325°F

MODERATE: 350°F – 375°F

HOT: 400°F – 425°F

VERY HOT: 450°F – 475°F