Recipe: Dal Fry

Dal Fry is such a ubiquitous dish that it finds a place in almost every menu that offers Indian food. However, and when I think back, it is quite strange that I’ve not made this dish ever for the children and S, considering it used to be a staple in my repertoire pre-marriage! So anyway, while planning on my menu last week, I decided to make this at last and it was very well liked by everyone at home. 

This is a fairly easy dish to make and makes the dal thick, unlike traditional dals. So when you cook the dal, make sure you do not add too much water while cooking, so it retains its thickness.

Dal Fry


  • 2 cups toor dal, washed and soaked in warm water with a pinch of turmric powder for 30 minutes
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large red tomato, finely chopped
  • 4-5 pods of garlic, grated or made into a paste
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated or made into a paste
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp carom seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder 
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Coriander leaves to garnish


  • In a pressure cooker, cook the dal for 5-6 whistles. If using the stovetop to cook the dal, cook till it is very mushy and becomes whole and smooth with a paste-like consistency. Keep aside.
  • In another pan, heat the ghee and when it warms, add the cumin seeds and carom seeds one after the other, with a few seconds of stirring in between.
  • Now add the dried red chillies and stir for a few seconds. Next add the chopped onions and stir well, letting the onions become translucent.
  • When the onions become translucent, add the garlic and ginger and let them cook for a while.
  • Now add the dry ingredients – salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder and coriander powder and stir for around 1 minute.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook until the mixture becomes mushy and the tomatoes lose their shape and become soft.
  • Now add the cooked dal and stir well. Check for seasoning and add what is missing. Add the garam masala and let it cook for around 5-10 minutes. You can add water to make it the consistency you like.
  • Switch off the gas and add the lemon juice and garnish with coriander leaves. 

Serve hot with plain or jeera rice and a vegetable of your choice.


Recipes: Pumpkin Dal

Pumpkin Dal 2The other day, it was just me and BB at home for dinner. S was eating out with friends and R was also out. GG had to stay back in school and so would not have lunch with us. I was wondering what to cook for just the two of us when I saw that a quarter of an orange pumpkin which was starting to go bad. After thinking about what to make, I decided to make a dal with the pumpkin. It turned out great and is super easy to make.  There’s hardly any cooking to be done once you cook the dal and then just lightly temper it.

Pumpkin Dal 3Pumpkin Dal


  • 1 cup orange pumpkin or squash, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup yellow split moong dal, washed and kept aside
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder

To temper:

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 2-3 red dried red chillies (optional)
  • 2 tsp ghee


  • In a pressure cooker, add the moong dal and pumpkin and pressure cook it for 3 whistles or until the dal and pumpkin are fully cooked. and
  • If you are using the stove top to cook, cook it till the dal is soft and mushy and the pumpkin is fully cooked and starts to disintegrate.
  • When the pressure cooker cools down, open and mash the dal and pumpkin together till it becomes a homogenous mixture.and
  • Add salt and red chilli powder to taste and keep aside.and
  • In a smaller pan, heat the ghee and add the cumin seeds. When it splutters, add the asafoetida and the dried red chillies (if using) and pour the tempering to the dal immediately. Cover the dal for five minutes to let the tempering infuse the dal.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or any flat bread

Pumpkin Dal 1

Recipes: Spinach Dal

IMG_0611A perennial favourite in our home, I make this quite often, sometimes as often as once a week! BB also loves this dal and even has it as a soup!

IMG_0612Spinach Dal


  • 1 cup spinach (or any greens), chopped and washed well
  • 1 cup chana dal, soaked in water for 10 minutes and then drained
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger paste or 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp garlic paste or 5-6 pods of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp sambar or garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp amchur powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp oil


  • Heat a large pan (or even the pressure cooker you plan to cook the dal in) and add the oil to it.
  • When the oil warms, add the mustard seeds and let it pop. Then add the cumin seeds and turmeric powder and stir for a couple of seconds.
  • Now add the ginger and garlic and stir each for a few seconds each before adding the other.
  • When the ginger and garlic start browning, add the onions and saute till they turn translucent.
  • Next, add the tomatoes and a bit of salt and let it cook. Add the dry masalas also at this point – red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, sambar or garam masala and amchur powder (if you are using it).
  • When the tomatoes start becoming mushy, add the spinach (or greens) and let them start wilting.
  • When the spinach starts wilting and cooking, add the soaked and drained dal and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add 2 cups of water and cover and pressure cook for 3 whistles.
  • If you are not using a pressure cooker, cover and cook till the dal is completely cooked and soft.
  • Chana dal will not lose it shape unlike other dals, so check when it is done.
  • When the pressure cools down, open the cooker and check for seasoning. Add what you feel is lacking and turn off the flame.
  • Serve with any rice or flatbread of your choice.




Recipe: Snake Gourd Dal

IMG_5918Indian vegetables are a staple in my house, especially when we have done shopping in the Little India district. And Snake Gourd somehow makes it home every time this happens. Normally I make a stir-fry with this vegetable and honestly, even I was bored with that every single time. I decided to search and see if anything else can be made and found people had experimented with dal with this vegetable. So I also decided to make a dal and did a very simple dal with hardly any seasoning. The result was a delicious dal which would go  very well with both rice as well as rotis and flatbreads.

trichosanthes_cucumerina_aka_snake_gourdThis is a common vegetable in India and because it’s long and slim (like a snake, it is called Snake Gourd). The vegetable has many health benefits too, including  its ability to improve the strength of the immune system, reduce fevers, detoxify the body, improve the digestive processes of the body, increase hydration in the body, treat diabetes, boost the strength and quality of the hair, and aid in weight loss. More information on this vegetable on Wikipedia and this site.

Snake Gourd Dal


  • 2 snake gourds, peeled and chopped into pieces
  • 1 cup chana dal (yellow split chick peas)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 1 tsp jaggery (or sugar, brown sugar)

For the seasoning:

  • 1 tsp ghee or oil
  • 1.5 tsps cumin seed powder
  • 2 whole red chillies,
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1 inch stick cinnamon
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • coriander leaves to garnish


  • Wash the dal and let it soak in warm water for 15-20 minutes. Wash the snake
  • In a pressure cooker, add the dal, snake gourd, turmeric powder, a safoetida powder and 2 cups of water and cooker for 3 whistles.
  • If you do not have a pressure cooker, cook this in a large bottom pan on the stove and keep an eye on the water. Keep adding water when it evaporates. The end result should be a mushy dal with the snake gourd completely cooked.
  • Let the pressure subside and when the pressure is fully released, open the cooker and mash the mixture well.
  • In a separate, smaller pan, heat the ghee or oil and add the cumin seeds.
  • When the cumin seeds pop, add in the cloves, cinnamon and red chillies and let it pop. When the red chillies start to brown, remove from the flame and pour over the dal.
  • Close the lid of the dal tightly for 10 minutes to let the dal get infused with the seasoning.
  • Open the lid and check for salt. Add lemon juice, jaggary and garnish with coriander leaves.



Recipe: Gujarati Dal

IMG_5632[2]Dal or pulses is the staple of any Indian meal, more so, if its a vegetarian meal as this is the one which supplies the protein to the meal. So every community in India will have their own versions of dal. We also make some sort of dal almost every day, and one of my favourites is this sweet and sour dal from the state of Gujarat. This dal is quite simple to make and uses ingredients found in the pantry. For non-Indians reading this blog, the dal I used can be brought from any Indian store or any supermarket which sells grains.

Gujarati Dal


  • 1 cup yellow moong dal, washed and soaked in water for 10 minutes
  • 2 tbsps raw peanuts, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 green chilli, chopped finely
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp grated jaggery (sugar or brown sugar can be a substitute)
  • 1-2 tsps lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

To temper

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
  • 2 inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • A pinch of asafoetoda


  • In a pressure cooker, add the dal, tomato chopped into 4 large pieces and the turmeric powder and cook till it becomes mushy. This should take 3-4 whistles, but you can cook it on a stovetop also.
  • Once cool, open the cooker, remove the skin of the tomato and mash the dal well and add it to a large pan along with enough water to make it into a thin consistency. To this add the red chilli powder, chopped chilli and ginger and the peanuts (remove from the water first).
  • Add salt to taste and let it come to a nice rolling boil. Let it boil for around 10 minutes and then prepare the tempering.
  • In a small pan, heat the ghee and when warm add the tempering ingredients in the following order: mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, dried red chillies, cinnamon stick and cloves, stirring for a couple of seconds each time before adding the next ingredient.
  • Once the spice mixture has sizzled, add it to the dal.
  • Switch off the gas and add the lemon juice and check for salt. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice and a vegetable of your choice.

Delicious Gujarati dal is ready!