Pressure cooker questions (esp for lentils/beans etc)

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Badjak

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Dec 24, 2010
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I got one, sort of hidden away.
Just a pressure cooker. Not an instant pot.
But if I look for anything online, it's all instant pot today. I have no desire at all to own an instant pot, but I would like to use my pressure cooker a bit more, esp for dal.
And exactly what my manual is missing is beans & lentils etc.

Now, do I need to make any adjustments to instant pot recipes? My pressure cooker is 12 psi. Browning, searing, frying is easy to adjust. After all, the cooker is just a pot if the lid is not on.
And what is your favourite dal recipe?
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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it depends on the pressure rating of your PC, If it's rated for 11 lbs. of pressure, use it with the InstaPot recipes calling for low pressure. If it's rated for a higher pressure, use it with InstaPot recipes using high pressure. My pressure cooker came with a regulator allowing me to choose 11 lbs., 15 lbs., or 18 lbs., of pressure.

legumes such as lentils, and split peas cook very rapidly in ordinary boiling water, and don't really benefit from a pressure cooker. Dried beans, on the other hand, cook much quicker in your PC, Just make sure to leave sufficient room for expansion, so that the beans, and/or cooking juices don't clog the pressure valve.

The InstaPot recipes that use pressure are simply pressure cooker recipes.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

pepperhead212

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Nov 21, 2018
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Woodbury, NJ
Badjak, Your pressure cooker must be fairly new, since the pressure is 12 psi - some did that to approximate the Instant Pot. The old PCs usually had 15 psi, but the IPs have 12, plus a lower pressure of 5.8 psi, if I remember correctly. I almost never use that, however, except when cooking rice or whole grains by themselves, which sort of prevents the "explosion" of the grains.

For dal, most will cook totally soft in 13 min, letting the pressure release naturally. Moong dal and masoor dal (red lentils) are even faster. Chana dal is what I like to use when I want it sort of al dente, like in salads, and I don't cook it under pressure as much (unless in one of those multi dal dishes) - it's easy to get it too soft.

For other beans, they vary greatly. If starting with soaked overnight beans, most will take about 5-10 min; starting with dry beans, 20-30 min, depending on variety and age of the beans. However, soybeans and chickpeas take even longer - 15-20 min. soaked, 40-50 min. dry, and black chickpeas (kala chana) take the longest! I can cook dried ones 80 min. and still have them all whole and firm. Those are my favorite chickpeas, but I do try to remember to soak them - makes a big difference with these!

We usually don't think about soaking dal, but surprisingly, it is done often in Indian cooking - sometimes so they can cook with something else, such as rice, in the same amount of time, other times so it can be sautéed, with other ingredients, usually vegetables, adding liquids gradually, and the dish is done in 6-8 minutes, starting with chana dal soaked 2 hours.

I couldn't choose a favorite dal recipe, given the number of them I've made! It's all in the spice mixes added, as well as the vegetables used. And then there's the tempering, or the tarka, added at the end - takes a minute, or less (not including measuring out the spices), but adds a flavor you can't get any other way.

If you are really interested in dal, here is the best site I have found for Indian cooking in general, and a seach for "dal" came up with this page - 699 recipes! However, below you can see it is separated into many categories. Warning, however: though she uses a pressure cooker in most of the dishes, the time is not in minutes, but "whistles"! lol. This is something about the PCs they have over there, and most Indian blogs I've seen use it. Each whistle is 4-5 minutes, if you see any you like.
 

Badjak

Senior Cook
Joined
Dec 24, 2010
Messages
141
Thanks all
My pressure cooker has 2 settings 12 & 8 psi. I think the 12 is the standard "high" pressure in Europe/UK.
I like my dal quite cooked (mushy). Made some yesterday with channa dal (yellow split pea?)/ musoor dal (red lentil) mix and it did take quite long to get it where I wanted it.
It's quick to get them to eating stage, but not to pulp stage. This was conventional, to get a handle on the stuff before pressure cooking.
I did soak them a little, as I checked them over, washed then and let them stand in clean water while prepping my other food.

Thanks @pepperhead212
I've seen the site and I was going to ask about those whistles :)

What would be a good starting point: 1 cup lentils to 4 cups water? Or to about 3 cups when soaked?
 

medtran49

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Feb 20, 2011
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You can Google "stove top pressure cooking times" to get charts with the information you need. If you know the maker of your pressure cooker, you might even be able to get specific information for it by adding the name. However, I did get this Beans, legumes, lentils chart link by googling the above that was recommended by one of The kitchn.com contributors. Thekitchn.com article is a good read as well.

I have a stove top pressure cooker as well and I have to look up the times every time I try to make something new in it because it was an inheritance and didn't come with a book.

Just make sure you NEVER EVER overload it and always check the valve to make sure it is open and clean before using it. I saw the results of an overloaded, clogged valve pressure cooker explosion and, trust me, that is NOT something you ever want you see.

Oh, BTW, from what I understand after having a discussion with an InstaPot user about converting my red beans and rice recipe for use in her InstaPot, she had to INCREASE the times from what I use in my stovetop PC.
 
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pepperhead212

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@Badjak To get an idea of how much water the lentils absorb in a given time, I would try weighing a cup of them dry, then drain, and weigh again. If you are going for the softer, like I said 4 c is a good amount for most of them, and you can simply wash them well, drain, then add the 4 c, and let soak while doing the other work, maybe in a bowl, if you'll be doing some other cooking in the pot, before adding the dal and water. That way, you don't have to wonder about the difference in the amount water absorbed.

The chana dal is not the same thing as those yellow split peas. Chana dal are actually those black chick peas, that have been split and hulled - the reason they stay firm so much longer. The yellow split peas will turn to mush almost as quickly as the masoor and moong dal. Toor dal is another type of yellow split pea - not as fast to turn soft, but not a firm one, like chana dal, and it is usually usually cooked to a purée in those many sambars of S India.

@medtran49 I have an 8 qt stovetop PC (with 15 and 10 psi settings), that I use very seldom now, but I remember that about the times taking longer, when I first got the Instant Pot, since the old PC recipes being for 15 psi. It makes sense that newer ones are making 12 psi the standard now, to match with the IP, and other, similar pots; though it is sort of a pain to change times, depending on recipes you are using, it's not that big of a problem.
 

Badjak

Senior Cook
Joined
Dec 24, 2010
Messages
141
Good plan!
I'll experiment a bit and I'll report back.
Would be nice if the cooker had a see through lid :) :)

Thanks for the clarification on the yellow split pea. I was wondering about them.
I'm much more familiar with green split peas as they are the standard for erwtensoep (Dutch pea soup)
 

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