Walking around typical neighborhoods in India around 11 AM in the morning, it is common to hear hissing, shrieking and whistling noises made not by people but by pressure cookers, as lunch is cooked in homes everywhere. Many people who are quite adept at handling sharp knives, whirring food processors and red-hot ovens are scared of using pressure cookers. In fact, pressure cookers have safety devices built into them and will result in no more accidents than any other appliance. Famous last words?
The one and only pressure cooker we currently own was bought by V some 5-6 years ago and is a Prestige Handi-shaped hard anodized pressure cooker. The handi (this shape; like a pot) is cute as a dumpling and certainly very roomy, but the one distinct disadvantage is that it does not hold the conventional stacked cooking vessels that allow you to cook multiple different things at the same time. I end up using my pressure cooker almost every day, for beans and lentils, lentil-rice combos, soups and for cooking potatoes.
Pressure cookers have very distinct personalities. It is difficult to specify cooking times with pressure cookers because each one seems to have a mind of its own. You just have to get to know your own cooker and estimate its cooking times for various dishes. My pressure cooker is efficient to a fault. Things get overcooked in it in the blink of an eye. I soaked and cooked lima beans the other day to make an eggplant-lima bean subzi (one of my favorite combos) and my pressure cooker steamed the lima beans to a liquid mush in just one whistle. I sighed, poured in some tempering into the soupy lima beans and called it a dal instead.
Today I'm posting a recipe that I learned from Crazy Curry. Bhags of Crazy Curry is not posting lately, but I sure thank her mentally every time we enjoy this tasty dal. Read her original post to learn about the origin of this dal and why she calls it the "Bachelor tadka dal". Since trying it, Kitchen King masala has a permanent place in my spice cabinet. When I made it last night, I snuck in a lone eggplant that I needed to use up, but the recipe below is the dal in its pure, unadulterated form.
Tadka Dalthis recipe on Crazy Curry)
1. Rinse 1 cup toor dal several times, soak for 20-60 minutes if you have the time.
2. In the body of a pressure cooker, heat 1-2 tbsp. ghee.
3. Temper it with
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
4. Add 1 medium onion, cut into thin slices and fry until translucent.
1⁄2 tsp. turmeric
1⁄2 tsp. red chilli powder
1 heaped tsp. Kitchen King masala
3 chopped tomatoes
Salt to taste
6. Add the toor dal and 4 cups water. Pressure cook.
7. Add a generous handful of minced cilantro. Serve with jeera rice or parathas.
I'm sending this over to my own event, Blog Bites, where this month is all about cookers. There's a few more days left to participate, if you'd like to send in an entry.
What's cooking? Take a guess!