THEME: #160 DAALS OF INDIA
What is a dal/daal/dhal? Basically made from split lentils like chickpea, cowpeas. green grams, black grams, Puy lentils, pigeon pea, dried peas, whole lentils or beans, its a spicy soup like or stew like preparation which is usually eaten with some rice or roti, parathas. Dals can be thick or watery, they can have added vegetables or meat too or can be plain.
Its a great way to incorporate some protein in your diet especially if you’re a vegetarian. Before I had begun blogging I would prepare tuvar dal, moong dal, dal makhani and kadhi on a regular basis – at least 5 times a week. We knew which dal would be made on which day. Its only when I began blogging and started coming across different kinds of dals by fellow bloggers that I ventured out to try new dals and flavors. We still have dal at least 4-5 times a week but now the variety is enormous.
Having said that there are so many versions of dals that I still need to try out. Priya Iyer who blogs at The World Through My Eyes suggested Daals Of India as the 160th theme. I jumped at the suggestion as I knew which dal I wanted to make. Dalma had been on my list for a while.
Dalma is a famous dal from the state of Odisha (Orissa). This nutritional dal is made by using tuvar dal (toor) on its own or with a mixture of tuvar dal and a bit of chana dal. What makes it so nutritious is the number of vegetables that are added like yam, plantain, pumpkin, drumstick, tomato, raw papaya, potato, eggplant, carrot, French beans etc. Basically you can use any vegetables you have at home. The spices are very simple, a cumin and red chili spice blend and since I love panch phoron or panch phutana (a mixture of cumin, fenugreek, mustard, nigella and fennel seeds), I used that for tempering.
I would like to thank Saswati who blogs at Delish Potpourri for her valuable guidance as there are so many versions of dalma that I got pretty confused. I was not able to use yam and drumstick as I didn’t get any. However, the dal turned so delicious with such simple spices and its very healthy. You can enjoy dalma with rice or rotis. I made some janta roti which is another famous Odia preparation. The recipe for Janta Roti will be posted after a while. In the meantime do make this simple, nutritious and healthy dal and enjoy it.
For the dal:
½ cup tuvar dal (toor, arhar, split pigeon pea)
¼ cup chana dal (split chickpea)
½ cup pumpkin peeled and chopped into big cubes ( I used bottle gourd)
½ cup eggplant cut into big chunks
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium potato
2 plantains, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium tomato, cut into chunks
1-1½ tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp ginger paste
3-4 cups water
For the dalma masala (spice powder):
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2-4 dry red chillis
1 tbsp ghee/oil
I small cut into slices
1 tsp panch phoron/ panch phutana ( an equal mixture of fennel, cumin, fenugreek, mustard and nigella seeds)
1-2 dry red chilis
2 tbsp fresh chopped coriander
1 tbsp fresh grated coconut
Preparation of dalma:
- Wash and soak the dals in 2 cups of warm water for 20-30 minutes from the measured water.
- Add the dal along with the water to the pressure cooker.
- Add salt, turmeric powder, ginger and the vegetables.
- Close the lid of the pressure and let the dal cook over medium heat for 2 whistles.
Preparation of the spice powder:
- While the dal is getting ready, roast cumin seeds and dry red chilis in a pan over low heat.
- Let it cool a bit and then grind it in a spice blender or using a mortar and pestle.
Preparation of the tempering:
- Heat ghee or oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the panch phoron to the hot ghee or oil.
- As soon as the seeds begin to splutter add the sliced onion.
- Stir fry till it becomes brown.
- Add the red chilis. Mix.
- Add chopped coriander and mix well.
- Take the pan off the heat.
Final Preparation of dalma:
- Heat up the remaining water.
- Open the lid of the pressure cooker.
- Add the spice powder and water. Mix well.
- Add the tempering. Close the lid of the pressure cooker.
- Let the flavors of the tempering infuse for 5 minutes.
- Just before serving sprinkle fresh grated coconut and serve with rice or roti.
- If you get red yam (suran), drumsticks and French beans then add them to dalma.
- The amount of vegetables you add depends entirely on you. Next time I’d definitely add more.
- Adjust the amount of chilis used according to your taste.
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You may want to check out the following dal recipes:
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