How to cook dal in a pressure cooker?

One of the most common questions by the beginners is how to cook dal? In an open pot/pan or closed pot or pressure cooker or electric cooker…. How much water to add? How long to cook? So many confusions…

In this post we will see about pressure cooking dal. Though it is a very simple one I hope beginners benefit from this post.

This is just a simple recipe of cooking basic dal in a pressure cooker. I have used moong dal here. You can use any dal that suits your taste including toor dal, masoor dal, chana dal, green gram dal. This cooked dal can be used as  base for a number of recipes including dal tadka, dal fry, sambar and stews. You can bulk cook dal and store in the freezer and your favourite dal curry will be ready in a jiffy. 

Prep time – 15 mins

Cook time – 15 mins

Servings – 4 to 5

Ingredients 

  • Moong dal – 1 cup
  • Water – 3 cups
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Castor oil – 1 tsp

Cooking Instructions

  • Take a cup of dal, rinse thrice in water and soak for 15 minutes. Moong dal can be dry roasted prior to soaking if you dont like the  slimy consistency of the dal. Other dals need not be roasted.
  • After 15 minutes, take a pressure cooker (minimum 3 ltr pressure cooker) and add the soaked dal, 3 cups of water, salt, turmeric powder and castor oil.
  • Close the pressure cooker, place the weight and cook on high flame for 5 whistles.
  • After 5 whistles, reduce the flame to low and cook again for 6-7 minutes. 
  • Then switch off the stove and let the pressure escape on its own. This might take around 10 to 15 minutes. Though the stove is switched off, pressure cooking will be continued till steam is there in the pressure cooker. So do not disturb till steam has released completely. How do I know that the steam has escaped? – After 15 minutes slightly lift the weight and check.
  • Now open the pressure cooker and take a little bit of dal and press between thumb and index finger. The dal must be mashed completely without any resistance. So you can be sure that the dal is soft cooked.
  • Now you can mash the entire dal with a masher / blender / back of the ladle to bring it to a creamy consistency.
  • You can use it either immediately to make dal tadka, curry, dal fry, sambar or can transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the freezer for later use.

Cooking Instructions With Step by Step Pictures

  • Take a cup of dal, rinse thrice in water and soak for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, take a pressure cooker (minimum 3 ltr pressure cooker) and add the soaked dal, 3 cups of water, salt, turmeric powder and castor oil.
  • Close the pressure cooker, place the weight and cook in high flame for 5 whistles.
  • After 5 whistles, reduce the flame to low and cook again for 6-7 minutes. 
  • Then switch off the stove and let the pressure escape on its own. This might take around 10 to 15 minutes. Though the stove is switched off, pressure cooking will be continued till steam is there in the pressure cooker. So do not disturb till steam has released completely.
  • Now open the pressure cooker and take a little bit of dal and press between thumb and index finger. The dal must be mashed completely without any resistance. So you can be sure that the dal is soft cooked.
  • Now you can mash the entire dal with a masher / blender / back of the ladle to bring it to a creamy consistency.
  • You can use it either immediately to make dal tadka, curry, dal fry, sambar or can transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the freezer for later use

Recipe notes

  • Any dal can be cooked using the same method including toor dal, masoor dal, moong dal and chana dal.
  • If your dal is not cooked properly please check the date of manufacture / packing. Older dal takes longer to cook. So always get fresh lentils whenever possible.
  • Most dals can be cooked safely with 3 cups of water without being burnt. Some dals might absorb more quantity of water after soaking time. So one arbitrary measurement is water should be around 2 inches above the dal. If not you can add around ¼ to ½ cup of water.
  • The reason not to add excessive amounts of water is dal might foam out of the pressure cooker and splutter while cooking. So the correct amount of water should be used.
  • Castor oil is added to control foaming of the dal. Any oil can be used but since castor oil has more density it is commonly used in India.

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