How to make split pulse Dal? Prevent boil-over?
Major problem in cooking Dal is boil-over. Dal refers to split legumes (Pulse). The split beans may have skin or decorticated (skin less)
In North India, following varieties are popular
Chana Dal (Split Desi variety chickpeas)
Toor (Pigeon peas orange color)
Moong Dal (Mung, cream yellow)
Urad Dal ( Black Matpe, white)
Masoor (Split brown lentil, pink)
Mattar (Dried mature split green peas)
What is boil-over?
The major problem is boil-over. When the pulse are split mechanically, the process creates powdery starch particles, the surface also becomes fragile. One can wash and rinse to get rid of the most of the powder, but the surface still remains fragile. During boiling, the starch particles expand trapping air making a foamy froth resulting in boil-over.
I do not recommend using pressure cooker to make Dal. The boil over may clog the vent pipe and you might windup with a major clean up job.
Instead, choose a heavy bottom pan. You don't need the lid. The pan capacity should be about twice the size of needed amount water in your recipe. If the recipe calls for 4 cups of water, choose a pan that will hold at least 8 cups of water. If your recipe calls to add acidic ingredients such as Tamarind, Tomatoes, Lemon lime juice, or Amchoor, the pan should not be made out of Aluminum unless it has non-stick surface. I prefer a stainless steel heavy bottom pan.
In addition, you will need a small frying pan for Bhagar .
Step 1. Wash and Rinse
Wash and rinse pulse to remove dried particles that float, and the powdery substances. Normally, I wash and rinse with three changes of water.
Step 2. Bring to boil
Always add cooking oil and Turmeric powder to water before cooking Dal
Combine washed pulse, water and spices according to the recipe and bring it to a boil. Note following points.
1. Add basic spices: Turmeric powder, ground Cayenne powder, and salt. As the pulse cook, they absorb and swell. The spices in the water flavor the inside of the pulse.
2. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of cooking oil. The oil will change the surface tension reducing the froth and chances of boil-over.
Step 3. Cooking
After everything has come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium simmer. Do not cook on high heat, high heat causes rolling action and promotes boil-over. Cook till pulse are tender. After the legumes are tender, do not shut off the heat, turn it to 'low'
Step 4. Tadka / Bhagar
On a separate burner, put oil in the Bhagar frying pan (Pali). Turn on heat. When the oil is hot add the ingredients per recipe. Normally, Bhagar consists of Cumin seeds.
Always add cooking oil to cold pan and then heat
After Bhagar is ready (the cumin seeds start to turn brown), transfer Bhagar to cooked Dal. Stir, and
continue simmering for another two to three minutes so all the flavors of the Bhagar are worked-in the Dal.
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