Dal Panchratni (5 dry beans in a stew)

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Dal is Dried Beans and Panch+Ratni means 5+Gems .

I love my dals and keep a variety of at least 10-12 different dry beans in my storage. The list includes, whole lentils, red lentils which are dehusked and split black lentils, mung with husk, mung without husk, pigeon peas or Toor or Arhar dal, rajma/red kidney beans, chhole/chickpeas, Lobiya/black eye beans, black grams, chana dal / split n dehusked black gram, urad with husk, urad dehusked and split, urad whole, chauri, pinto beans, black beans, navy or butter beans….phew!

And the best companion to any dal or dry beans in “my opinion”, is Chawal or Rice as more commonly known ;).
Cumin Rice with every single grain separated loaded with a generous helping of dal on the top is soul food for me :).

And yes I do indulge sometimes with Ghee and the tadka or a generous tempering.

Recipe ! Try making it this Dussehera. A Vaishnav Dhaba style Dal with no onion and garlic.

Serves : 8

Ingredients :

Mung Chilka / yellow mung : 1/4 cup
Mung dhuli / green mung split : 1/4 cup
Masoor dhuli / red lentils : 1/4 cup
Chana dal / split black gram and dehusked : 1/4 cup
Urad Chilka / black urad split : 1/4 cup

Oil : 1 tbsp
Ghee : 2 tsp to 4 tsp for tadka / tempering.

Cumin seeds : 1 tsp + 1 tsp
Cinnamon stick : 1 small
Bay leaf : 1 small
Dry red chillies : 2
Black pepper pods : 4-5
Cloves : 4-5
Green cardamom : 2
Garam masala : 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp as per taste
Turmeric : a fat pinch or 1/4 tsp
Salt : to taste
Red chili powder : 1/4 tsp

Tomatoes : 2 medium, ripe
Green chillies : 1-2
Ginger : 1 big piece
Fresh cilantro to garnish

Method :

Boiling the Dal

  1. Take a bowl. Add all the dry beans or dals to it. Wash them till the water is clear.

  2. Soak for 1/2 an hour in 2 &1/2 cups water.

  3. Boiling in a Pressure cooker : Boil the dal in the same water with a big pinch of turmeric and little salt. After the first whistle of the cooker, reduce the flame and continue boiling on simmer for 10 minutes. Then take it off the flame and do not open till all the pressure is released on its own.

  4. Boiling in a pan : Take a deep pan. Boil the dal with the same soaked water and additional 1 cup of water along with a fat pinch of turmeric and salt. Bring it to a boil. Then put the flame on slow and keep cooking till it’s mushy and thick. Adjust water accordingly.

  5. Dal is ready.

Making the Tomato Purée

  1. Take a blender. Add chopped tomatoes, ginger and green chili and blend them to a purée.

  2. Take a thick bottom pan and heat 1 tbsp oil in it. Once hot, lower the flame and add cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, cardamom, cloves, black pepper cloves to it.

  3. Sauté for 2-3 seconds till the cumin seeds start crackling.

  4. Add the puréed tomatoes to it. Stir well. Cover and cook on slow flame till all the water from the tomatoes is evaporated. It takes 7-8 minutes.

  5. Switch the stove off. The tomato purée is ready.

Putting the Dal together

  1. Add the tomato purée to the boiled dal. Add garam masala, some water if the dal is too thick and adjust the salt.

  2. Stir well. Cook on medium low flame for another 5-7 minutes.

  3. Dal is ready.

Preparing the Tadka or Tempering

  1. Take a small pan. Add ghee to it. Heat the ghee.

  2. Once the ghee is super hot, add cumin seeds. Once the seeds crackle and come to the top, add dry red chillies and chili powder. Switch off the flame.

  3. Add it on the top of the dal or as we say “temper the dal”.

  4. Add chopped cilantro leaves.

Now serve it with Cumin Rice .

Taking it to the Fiesta Friday ! I hope Angie and the co-hosts Selma and Elaine like it.


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  1. The dal looks lovely! Just a quick question – what does Masoor dhuli mean? Is it the split masoor or the full skinned masoor? Thanks, Ramaa

  2. Oh gosh, just saw this and then I saw Selma’s remarks and it gave me goose bumps Sonal…. for a second I thought huh??????? Then I looked at the date. Look at those different dahls, just lovely! Those grains of rice, wow! Basmati at its best!! Beautiful!

  3. That’s a great recipe. Thanks for sharing. Does the taste change if I use whole green mung dal and whole black urad dal instead of their split versions?

  4. Gorgeous, gorgeous photos. I didn’t even read the text yet I had to speed down here and let you know how beautiful this little dish is, especially with the colours you’ve chosen as props and to enhance. Okay, now I’ll go back to the recipe!

  5. You really are the Dhal Queen, Sonal – love the blend of lentils and I also like that you cooked the tomatoes separately first – this sounds so good – like it? I love it!! And your rice is STUNNING – every grain separate and standing proud. My mum would not believe it if I made rice like this!! Thank you for bringing this to the party – Happy Fiesta Friday!!