Kate Heyhoe

Kate's Global Kitchen


Dal Tips

by Kate Heyhoe

  • Always sort through dried dal before cooking to remove any stones or debris. Rinse the dal before cooking or toast the dal if required, then rinse.
  • As a general rule, whole beans require soaking for 2 hours, or boil them in water for 2 minutes and then let soak in the water for 1 hour.
  • Cooking times vary according to freshness; fresher pulses take less time.
  • Leave the lid slightly ajar, as a thick foam develops while cooking and can cause a sealed pot to boil over.
  • To make the pulses more digestible, always cook them thoroughly. Ginger, turmeric, and asafoetida help reduce flatulence.

Most frequently used Indian pulses:

  • Channa or chana dal, or gram lentils—yellow split peas; slightly larger than yellow lentils; flavorful, nutty, sweet; do not require soaking.
  • Kabuli channa—white chickpeas; nutty, creamy, absorb other flavors well; soak to reduce cooking time.
  • Kala channa—black chickpeas (actually dark brown); earthy, nutty flavor.
  • Masoor dal—called red lentils, actually more orange in color when split, but dark brown to greenish black when whole; split ones are fast cooking, nutty, fresh tasting; whole ones are chewier and muskier; do not require soaking.
  • Moong dal—mung beans (the same kind used for common Asian bean sprouts); whole ones are olive green, musky, and require soaking; split, skinned mung beans are yellow, easy to digest, flavorful and need no soaking; split, unskinned mung beans are a paler green than whole ones and can be cooked without soaking but will take longer.
  • Urad dal—black lentils or black gram; become white when split and skinned, or dark green/gray when split but not skinned; whole ones have a strong, musky taste, split ones are milder; when cooked, release a substance that makes the dish thick and creamy; do not require soaking, but whole ones will cook cook more quickly if soaked.
  • Toor dal—yellow lentils; easily digested, nutty, pleasant and subtle; do not require soaking; besides their use as a side dish or main course, they are often ground into flour for bread, puréed into batter for pancakes, or used in desserts.
  • Other common dal: lima beans, dried green peas, black-eyed peas.

Kate's Global Kitchen


Kate's Global Kitchen for March, 2000:

3/04/00 Carnaval & Mardi Gras Madness
3/11/00 St. Patrick's Day Special
3/18/00 Spring Couture: Best-Dressed Asparagus
3/25/00 The Dal Call: Indian Comfort Food

Copyright © 2000, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.


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