Dal – A stew or soup like food preparation, staple to countries in Asia. It is a humble but nutrient dense food eaten along with flat bread or steamed/boiled rice. Rich in protein, fibre, carbohydrates, vitamin B, iron and phosphorus makes it an excellent addition to our diets.
The choice of lentils and method of preparation differs region wise in India. Panch Mel Dal is a gift to us from the princely state of Rajasthan in India. The original version of the recipe stays with chef at Neem Rana Palace in Rajasthan which is where I got to taste this dish; however,after several trial and errors, I think I have managed to recreate the flavours in my kitchen. Happy cooking everyone and do stop by to let me know how it went for you ….
For pressure cooking
1 cup Ahar/Toor Dal
1/2 cup Chana Dal
2 Tbsp Yellow Moong Dal
2 Tbsp Masoor Dal
2 Tbsp Val ki Dal / Green Moong Dal
Enough water to pressure cook the dal
1 large Onion, finely sliced
2 Medium sized Tomatoes, finely chopped
2 inches of ginger, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 Tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 Tsp Hing
1 Tbsp Red Chilli Powder
1 Heaped Tbsp Coriander & Cumin Powder
1/2 Tsp Garam Masala Powder
1/2 Tsp ground Kasuri Methi
1 Heaped Tbsp Ghee
Salt to taste
Fresh chopped coriander leaves
Wash and soak all the dals for half hour and pressure cook for 5 short whistles or 3 long ones.
While the dals are cooking, prepare the masala. In another pan, heat ghee. Add cumin seeds and hing and saute for a minute. To this add ginger and garlic. Saute for another minute so there is no rawness in the aromatic. Add onions, give it a good stir and brown them slightly. We do not want full-fledged dark brown colour to the onions. Only a slight brown. Add tomatoes and cook until they turn to mush.
To the mush mix, we add chilli powder, coriander and cumin powder and turmeric powder. Give a good stir and cook for a minute. Add 1/2 cup of water and let the masala cook until oil separates. Add garam masala powder and cook for a minute.
Transfer the tadka to the dal mix and give it a good stir so everything is mixed well. Add about two cups of water little by little to achieve desired consistency. We prefer thick dal so I added about 1.5 cup water. Add kasuri methi and salt to taste. Cook for another 5 minutes so the masala mingles with the dal mix. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve the dal hot on a bed of steamed rice along with pickle and papad.