Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Thick Golden Beet Dhal

I wanted to explore another beet recipe today and thought of embedding beets in a thick dhal. I made the dhal and beets separately in my pressure cooker.

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 large leaves kale, hand stripped from the stems and then roughly hand torn into approximately 2" squares
  • 1/2 cup whole or chopped spinach, fresh (washed) or frozen
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/8 t smoked paprika
  • 1/2 t salt (or to taste)
  • 2 medium beet roots (I had very small ones so used 5 or 6), rinsed but not peeled
  • Another 3/4 - 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 2 t lemon juice
  1. I put the lentils, kale and spinach, water, turmeric, cumin, and paprika into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 20m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then removed from the pressure cooker and mixed in the lem
  3. I used a new pot for the pressure cooker and put in a trivet to keep food off the bottom and sides, then added about 3/4 - 1 cup of water, below the trivet level, and the beets atop the trivet.
  4. I pressure steamed. These were very small, only about 1 1/2" in diameter, so 10 minutes of pressure steaming nicely did it. For regular sized beet roots, I'd go with 15-17 minutes and for large ones above 3 1/2" in diameter, I'd go for 25-30 minutes.
  5. When the beets were done, I did a "quick release" of pressure.
  6. I waited a few minutes to handle the beets, cut the very top and bottom off of each beet, then held each under cold running water and rubbed the skin off.
  7. I cut the beets into approximately 3/4" cubes and mixed into the dhal, along with the onion and lemon juice.

This came out well though I preferred the beets with beans that I had made a few days ago. The beets were so delicious - I should cook beets more often! I'm glad that they were well done and soft.

Ideas for the future

Carrot would have gone great in this dish. If I had beet greens (I actually do have some but want to have them last till this Saturday's show), they would also be good. Using red beets would add a nice contrasting color, but I definitely prefer the sweeter flavor and much less staining of golden beets. I should make beets more often; they're easy, with these tips:
  • Pressure steam, like I did today, for 10-30 minutes, depending on size
  • Dice into 3/4" pieces and pressure cook, submerged, for 8-10 minutes
  • Boil 25-60 minutes, periodically checking for fork tenderness
  • Roast whole by covering in parchment paper and then roasting for 40-60m (check tenderness as above) at 400°F
  • As I described in March 2017, you can also roast beets after cutting them and mixing in some herbs (and perhaps a liquid like orange juice or soy sauce); the cook time drops depending on the size of the cubes but I really like the ease of whole beet roasting, cutting the beet once cooked
  • After removing the skin with a potato peeler, you can grate raw beet onto salads
  • Greens are healthy and tasty but, unlike beets which can easily keep in the refrigerator for months, the greens limp quickly so they should be removed from the roots and stored, unwashed, in a separate bag for about 3-5 days
You don't have to remove the skins until you're done cooking. The skins slip off easily once cooked, like I described here.

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