15 June 2009

I have my computer back in my arms, so I might be able to record a podcast soon enough. The downside is that I'm typing this in TextEdit while there's an internet blackout from my cable company for all of Manhattan, so I'll have to wait until I get to work to upload this to the blog.

Last night, I did an experiment with my yellow split peas. Because the toor daal is too expensive for me to buy with any regularity (or alacrity), I tend to use yellow split peas instead. Or is that split yellow peas? Whatever.

Because of this, I've noticed that from cold water to perfectly cooked (as in, they fall apart, and make a rich split pea gravy, along with the ones that manage to just barely stay together) takes about an hour and small change. Then, to add my spices and do all the rest of the business, I take about an additional 10 minutes or so, because I like my daal to have lots of textural and flavour differences going on.

Last night, I soaked my split yellow peas in cold water, and left them over night. They seemed to swell considerably in volume, so if you try this hint, make sure that you use a much larger container than you think you'll need. To save yourself some steps in the morning, use the same pot to soak as the one you want to cook the split peas in.

The next morning, I got up, and drained out the soaking liquid. We hear over and over again that the soaking liquid should be discarded so as to avoid the added "bonus" of the gas that beans are said to give you. Mind you, asafoetida and cumin are said to release said gas, but I'd sooner not have it show up in the first place, thank you very much.

Then, I put the pot onto the stove over the highest heat that it could muster. I also remembered to stay in the kitchen until the pot reached a boil, because I've learned time and again that when cooking split peas, you always have the issue of boil over, no matter how large the pot is. As soon as the water hit a rolling boil, I dropped it down to a simmer, and went about my morning routine.

Just about 20 minutes later, the split peas were done to a turn!

I decided to be lazy, and use the same spicing technique as explained in the dry roasted garbanzo recipe in my book. That is, mustard seed, cumin seed, and sesame seed, and a hint of turmeric. I did use asafoetida, because I like the flavour, but it isn't strictly necessary. I didn't bother adding onions or garlic or ginger, although any of those would have been perfectly lovely in flavour. It was that I was in a hurry to get out the door, and I wanted lunch ready for Steve. I just used a separate tiny pot that I have just for popping spices.

So, the spicing took less than a minute or so. I then poured the hot popped spices back into the split pea pot, and raised the heat to high, so that they could boil at full heat for about a minute.

25 minutes later, we had a pot of perfect split pea soup to have over hot rice. Life is good.

In future, I think that if I remember to do so, I'll soak all my beans, just to shorten the cooking time, even when they are already "quick" cooking ones.