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Masoor dal is an important part of the diet in many parts of the world, especially in the Indian subcontinent, which has a large vegetarian population. It is basically split lentil without skin and is red in colour. It does not need soaking prior to cooking as it is a soft dal and cooks quickly. When cooked, masoor dal turns a soft golden colour and has a pleasant earthy flavour. With 26 per cent protein, these lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any plant-based food after soybeans and hemp.
Boiled masoor dal
As the name suggests, this refers to masoor dal that has been boiled. You can use two cups of water per cup of masoor dal and cook in a pot with the cover on. This way, it will cook a little faster, use less energy, and perhaps retain more vitamins than open cooking. A faster way is to pressure-cook the soaked masoor dal with or without salt in boiling water. Bring the concoction to a boil; then turn down the flame to medium-low. If it gets too thick, add more water. The beans are cooked when they burst and the water turns syrupy. At this point, you may add spices, vegetables or even boiled rice as per your preference and recipe requirements. Whole masoor generally take about 30 minutes in a covered pan and 5-6 minutes in a pressure cooker. Foam may form during the first few minutes of cooking, which can simply be skimmed off.
Parboiled masoor dal
Parboiling is a cooking technique in which soaked masoor dal is partially cooked in boiling water, but removed before it is cooked all the way through. Many recipes call for parboiled masoor dal as it cook will then completely along with the final dish.
Soaked masoor dal
First sort and inspect the masoor dal for stones, damaged lentils, etc. Then rinse thoroughly till the water runs clear. Now, soak the dal in water for 4-6 hours, and discard the water. This makes the lentil easier to cook, and also removes substances that may cause indigestion.
How to select
• Masoor dal is generally available in pre-packaged containers as well as bulk bins.
• Regardless of packaging, check the masoor dal as best as possible to ensure that they are not cracked and that they are free of debris.
• Use masoor to make dal, the classic Indian dish.
• Boil the lentils to a stew-like consistency with vegetables and then season with a mixture of spices to make a tasty accompaniment for rice and rotis.
• Can be combined with rice to prepare khichdi.
• Purée cooked masoor dal with your favourite herbs and spices and serve as a side-dish.
• Recipes like Khatta Masoor, Lehsuni Masoor, Dal Gosht or Parathas stuffed with boiled Masoor, are also quite popular.
• Red Lentil Hummus on Sesame Crisp-bread , Red Lentil and Coconut Soup, Red Lentils Salad seasoned with Cumin and Smoked Paprika are other recipes.
How to store
• Masoor dal will keep for several months if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place.
• If you need to store it for longer, keep in the refrigerator.
• Masoor dal contains high levels of proteins, including the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine, and is an essential source of inexpensive protein in many parts of the world for those who adhere to a vegetarian diet or cannot afford meat.
• Apart from a high level of proteins, masoor dal also contains dietary fibre, Folate, vitamin B1, and minerals, all with virtually no fat.
• Masoor dal is rich in fibre but lesser than the percentage present in whole and husked dals.
• They are a good source of potassium and iron.
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