Jamaican Food Recipes

Amazing 10 Min Instant Pot Dhal –

Exploring Trinidad and Tobago’s Beloved ‘Dhal’ Dish

In the vibrant culinary tapestry of Trinidad and Tobago, there’s a beloved side dish that holds a special place in the hearts and taste buds of locals: ‘Dhal.’ The word ‘dhal’ encompasses not only the yellow split peas themselves but also the delightful finished dish that’s a staple in Trinidadian cuisine(click for the original stove-top dhal recipe).

Traditional Dhal: A Stove-Top Treasure

Traditionally, dhal is prepared in a pot on the stove, where the yellow split peas are lovingly boiled with a dash of turmeric, garlic, and a hint of hot pepper until they become tender. Once the peas reach that perfect texture, the dish is elevated with a process known as ‘chunkaying,’ involving the addition of hot oil, whole cumin seeds (geera), and slices of garlic for a burst of flavor.

A Modern Twist: Instant Pot Dhal

Today, we’re embarking on a culinary journey that pays homage to tradition while embracing the convenience of modern kitchen appliances. We’ll be cooking this cherished recipe in an Instant Pot, reducing the cooking time from 60 minutes on the stove to just 10 minutes, and adding a subtle twist to make it our own.

The Quick and Flavorful Recipe

To begin, add your rinsed yellow split peas to the Instant Pot, accompanied by five cups of water, turmeric, garlic, a touch of hot pepper, a pinch of salt, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. You might be surprised by the amount of water, but remember that the dhal tends to thicken as it cools. If you prefer your dhal on the thicker side, feel free to reduce the amount of water. Set your Instant Pot to cook for 10 minutes and allow it to naturally release or perform a quick release.

Elevating the Dish with ‘Chunkaying’

Now, let’s turn our attention to the ‘chunkaying’ process, where we infuse the dhal with irresistible flavors. Start by browning whole cumin seeds in oil, and then add slices of garlic, a bit more hot pepper, and, if you’d like to add an extra kick, consider using Kashmiri chili powder and ground coriander. Alternatively, keep it simple with the basic seasonings. Once your aromatic oil is ready, gently add it to the dhal, swizzle it in, and adjust the salt to taste. To enhance the dish’s vibrancy, stir in some fresh cilantro or culantro, also known as bandhania or shado beni.

A Quick, Satisfying Delight

The result is a quick, tasty, and incredibly satisfying dhal that’s perfect for those times when you’re looking to change things up a bit. Whether you enjoy it with your favorite roti, rice, curries, stews, or simply in a cup or bowl, Trinidad and Tobago’s cherished ‘Dhal’ is sure to delight your palate and transport you to the flavors of the Caribbean.

You may also enjoy your dhal with freshly steamed rice and the following dishes:

Instant Pot Curry Stew Goat

Instant Pot Masala Curry Goat 

Curry Goat 

Tomatoes Choka 

Sardine Choka

Curry Chicken

Stewed Chicken 

Stewed Lamb

Fried Sardine 

Fried Okra

Curry Shrimp 

Stewed Beef

Stewed Pork 

Bhagee with coconut cream

Chorai Bhagee

Trini Chinese Style Fried Chicken

Curry Duck – as seen on the photo

  • Prepare the Split Peas: Begin by thoroughly inspecting the split peas, removing any damaged peas and foreign matter. Rinse them with multiple changes of water to clean them.

  • Instant Pot Cooking: In the pot of an Instant Pot, combine the washed split peas with turmeric, 4 cloves of mashed garlic, chopped onion, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, the whole red hot pepper, and salt.

  • Pressure Cook: Place the lid on the Instant Pot, select the ‘peas and beans’ function, and set the timer for 10 minutes.

  • Release Pressure: Once the timer completes, allow the Instant Pot to release steam naturally or employ the quick release method.

  • Refine the Consistency: Remove the whole pepper and, using a swizzle stick or a vigorous stir, work the dhal to achieve a smoother texture. If a thicker consistency is preferred, continue to simmer using the sauté feature.

  • Aromatic Infusion: Heat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a small frying pan. Add whole cumin seeds and let them turn golden brown. Add the 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves and let them sizzle until they also become golden brown. Just before they darken excessively, add Kashmiri chili powder(or regular chili powder) and ground coriander if desired, and let them darken.

  • Final Touch: Gradually add the heated, aromatic oil into the cooked split peas, using the Instant Pot cover as a shield against splattering. Stir in the chopped culantro, ensuring thorough mixing. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary.

  • Serve and Enjoy: Give the dhal one final stir before serving. It pairs perfectly with freshly steamed jasmine rice, roti, or as a complement to bhagee, tomatoes choka, fried fish, salmon, tomatoes, and various curries and stews.

Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 803mg | Potassium: 379mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 251IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg


Please let me know if this recipe worked for you by leaving a comment below and a star rating. Also, tag me on IG @cookingwithria or send an email to cookingwithria2011@gmail.com.

Thanks for stopping by!

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