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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Panchmel Dal ( Rajasthani Lentils Recipe)

It is that time of the year when everyone is either partying or taking a vacation. But since I am doing neither, I have enough time to feel nostalgic about home and indulge about fifty grades of nostalgia. Looking though old photos, revisiting my early blog posts, calling up long forgotten friends/cousins/relatives, taking out and cleaning old stuff, cooking up my mom's dishes and so on, the list is almost endless. Hence, the craving for home cooked traditional food at a time when most of my blogger friends are dishing out cakes and party food by the dozen.

I was introduced to this recipe by my Mom. Unlike the mom in that Freecharge advert who refuses to go beyond Urad dal, she enjoys watching cooking shows and then replicating the same in her kitchen. Thanks to her I have developed a taste for all types of cuisine and my definition of comfort food is not limited to just Odia cuisine. For me, comfort food, irrespective of the place off its origin, has a very magical quality that immediately infuses my entire being with a warm glow. And I guess it is the same for most foodies who have been able to transcend the cultural barriers that seek to create ghettos around certain types of cuisine.

But enough of that introspection and analyzing. Moving on to this recipe, it is a simple, aromatic and delicious preparation that does without the usage of onion and garlic. While the traditional version uses lentils with skin on them, I have cooked it with the split and skinless version that was readily available in my pantry.

Here is the recipe -

Preparation Time - 45 mins ( Plus soaking for 4 hours)

Ingredients -

  • a fistful of Toor dal
  • a fistful of Urad dal
  • a fistful of Moong dal
  • a fistful of Masoor dal
  • a fistful of Channa dal
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 green cardamom
  • 3 dry red chilis
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 pinch hing
  • 2 pinch garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Preparation - Wash and soak the lentils for 4-5 hours.

Chop the tomato into fine bits. Lightly crush the ginger and green chili.

Cooking - Take the lentils in a pressure cooker along with 3-4 cups water, turmeric and salt to taste.
Cook for 3-4 whistles on medium flame.

Keep aside till steam escapes. Open the lid and slightly mash dal with a heavy spoon. Add some hot water to adjust consistency and put it back on a low flame.

Heat the oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom, asafoetida and broken red chilis. Once it starts spluttering, add the crushed ginger and green chili. Fry for a minute.

Then add chopped tomatoes, salt and garam  masala. Cook till tomatoes turn pulpy.

Pour this mixture into the pressure cooker and mix with the dal. Let it simmer for 15 mins.

Finally garnish with cilantro and remove from the flame.

Serve it hot with phulkas or rice. ( I have served it with a simple vegetable pilaf and some radish salad. )


  1. I love how all of your recipes are so healthy! Must surely follow your diet ;-)

    1. thank you dear..yeah Odia cuisine is really healthy and can actually help one lose weight if followed rigourously

  2. That's so nice. Unlike Parsi cuisine 😉


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