panchratna ri dal (rajasthan)

Another recipe after ages 🙂 But better late than never. I am starting the one-recipe-from-each-state-of-India sequence with a lentil dish from Rajasthan. This dal is also known as panchmel dal i.e. a dal with 5 kinds of lentils. The recipe comes from Arvind Singh Mewar (Erstwhile Maharana of Udaipur), who is a big foodie and runs several heritage hotels in Rajasthan. Some of you might have seen him on the Rajasthan episode of No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain or on Master Chef India.

The five lentils used here are: split yellow moong, arhar, chana, moth and split-skinned urad (Lentils 101). Most other panchmel recipes use masoor instead of moth. In fact, Jiggs Kalra has a very tasty version that I make often (here). But I wanted to post Arvind Singh’s recipe mainly because it uses moth dal. I feel moth is a very under-appreciated lentil and most often used either in sprouts or dal-moth snack. And to be honest, I am not a big fan of moth dal cooked on its own, which might be the reason it’s not that popular. But it fares very well in this recipe. I also want to try making the same dish with whole moong and urad, instead. Soon.

I decided not to pressure-cook the dals, but of course you can always do that to speed up the process. I wonder if cooking without a pressure cooker actually makes things tastier or if it’s just the fact that anything slow-cooked has so much love and time invested in it that we just “feel” it’s tastier. Even if it’s the latter, eating is an emotional experience and anything that enhances the joy of it is always welcome. May be one day I’ll try a recipe both ways and test if there is a real difference in taste.

Ingredients

  • Urad dal (split, skinned), 1 oz
  • Chana dal, 1 oz
  • Arhar/toor dal, 1 oz
  • Moth dal, 1 oz
  • Moong dal (split, skinned), 1 oz
  • Whole red chillies, 2 (broken into pieces)
  • Cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Garam Masala powder, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cloves, 6
  • Green cardamom, 6-7
  • Asafoetida,1/2 teaspoon
  • Ghee/clarified butter, 2 tablespoons
  • Salt, to taste

Method

  • Wash and soak the dals for 3-4 hours. 
  • Cook them with 4 cups of water, salt and turmeric in an open vessel on a low flame till completely done. It’s preferable to use a heavy-bottomed pot. (If you are cooking in a pressure cooker, you need about 2 cups of water and 2 whistles).
  • Once the dal is cooked, we prepare the tempering. In a small pan, heat up the ghee/clarified butter. Add cumin seeds, cardamoms and cloves. When the cumin seeds start sizzling, add asafoetida and red chillies. Turn off the flame immediately and add this tempering to the lentils. Mix thoroughly.
  • Cook the lentils for another 10 minutes and then add in the garam masala.
  • Garnish with cilantro leaves and green chillies.
  • Ready to eat!
  • (Note to those who are not familiar with Indian cooking: I wouldn’t advise chewing the whole spices.)

Lentils Dal on Foodista

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