Panchratan Dal (An Indian Dal With Five Kinds of Lentils)
Dal is an Indian stew made with lentils and Panchratan Dal is a combination of five different lentils. When a baby starts eating solids, an Indian mother will most likely give him mung dal, as lentils are extremely nutritious. It is rich in proteins and thus, an essential component in a balanced Indian vegetarian diet. More and more people all over the world are switching over to vegetarianism/veganism and enjoying dal as it serves as a wonderful alternative to meat, fish or dairy product. A diet rich in pulses also promises a healthy fibre-rich palate, which, indirectly, is good for the heart![My article on Panchratan Dal was originally published in Zomppa.]
Few words before we begin making this wonderful North-Indian Panchratan dal. All the lentils used should be fresh (new). Aged lentils take prolonged time to cook: so it is extremely important that you check the packaging dates before buying these. Aged dals are poor in nutritive value as well. If you are not sure whether the lentils are fresh, the best option would be to boil the split mung and white gram together (which take longer times to boil) and the rest of the lentils together and then mix the two sets of boiled lentils to prevent some of the lentils (such as the red ones) to melt completely.
Some additional notes:
- You can replace butter with ghee in this recipe.
- Garam masala powder is available in Indian stores readily; you can even make your own at home. There are many different combinations of garam masala and there is no unique recipe for this. My favourite homemade garam masala for any vegetarian dish would be a fine powder of the following lightly roasted spices: five cinnamon sticks (1 inch each), 5 green cardamoms, 10 peppercorns and 5 cloves.
- The amount of water may vary according to individual preference, but obviously, in that case the amount of salt added must be monitored.
- This dal is spicy. It doesn’t taste good if you lower the amount of spices. So be generous with the use of spices to experience an unforgettable taste of this North-Indian-style exquisite dal!
- Try using onion paste, if making an Indian curry or dal. Onion paste brings about a rich flavour and an aromatic and thick gravy, which is so appetizing!
Panchratan Dal (An Indian Dal With Five Kinds of Lentils)
- Split mung pulses (chilkewali mung): ¼ cup
- White gram (urad dal): ½ cup
- Mung pulses (mung dal): ¼ cup
- Split red lentils (masoor dal): ¼ cup
- Yellow pigeon lentils (arhar/tuvar dal): ¼ cup
- Finely chopped onions: ½ cup
- Onion paste (coarsely ground): ½ cup
- Finely chopped garlic cloves (big): 10
- Asafoetida (hing; optional): 2 pinches
- Turmeric powder (haldi): ½ tsp
- Cumin seeds (jeera): ½ tsp
- Fennel seeds (saunf): ¼ tsp
- Salt: 2 tsp (plus extra, if needed)
- Sugar: ½ tsp
- Ghee (Indian clarified butter): ¾ tsp
- Tomato (medium chopped): ¼ cup
- Tomato paste: ½ cup
- Coriander leaves (finely chopped): 3 tbsp
- Cinnamon sticks: 2 (one-inch thick)
- Cloves: 5
- Peppercorns: 12
- Bay leaves (medium): 2
- Green cardamoms: 4
- Fresh red or green chillies (slit): 4
- Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
- Oil: 4 tbsp
Wash the lentils (together) and soak them for 1 hour. Boil them with enough water to submerge them in the pressure cooker (two pressures on high flame and then simmered for 12 min) with the finely chopped onions, bay leaves, asafoetida, half the salt and half the garlic till you get perfectly cooked lentils. None of the lentil kinds should be hard when you press them between your fingertips. Ideally, for this recipe, the red and the mung lentils should be very soft and must have lost their shape partially after boiling. The rest of the three lentils must be soft but the shape should be intact even after boiling.
In a non-stick pan, add the oil. When the oil starts smoking, add the cumin and fennel seeds. Also add cinnamon sticks, cloves and peppercorns. When the cumin seeds just turn brownish, immediately add the onion paste and the rest of the garlic and sauté continuously over medium flame till the onion paste is dry. Add the chopped tomatoes and continue to sauté for 5 min or till the tomatoes become soft.
Now add the boiled lentils and if you want, this is the time to add some more water till you get the consistency you love (ideally, this dal is on the thicker side). Add the fresh chillies, tomato paste, the rest of the salt, turmeric powder, sugar and the garam masala powder and let the dal boil over a medium flame for 5 min.
Add the ghee and continue to cook for 5 more min. Switch off the gas and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Panchratan dal goes well with naan, chapatti or rice.
June 19, 2012 @ 3:31 pm
That must be very healthy curry 🙂
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June 19, 2012 @ 3:41 pm
I don’t cook with dal much because I always overcook I think. But I need to keep trying because a dish like this just looks superb!!! Talk about healthy! Great recipe! Thanks for the information on buying dal. Never thought of that!
Achu's Amma's Kitchen
June 19, 2012 @ 5:32 pm
super healthy dal curry.
June 19, 2012 @ 6:35 pm
I love dal–it is one of my favorite Indian dishes! I’m always a little intimidated by the number of ingredients to make a good one, though.
June 19, 2012 @ 6:48 pm
very delicious and healthy..done so perfectly..loved your detailed post!
June 19, 2012 @ 7:59 pm
Very rich & delicious dal,Purabi..though heard a lot about panchrattan dal,but never made it:-)
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June 19, 2012 @ 8:18 pm
This mix of lentils look great…I absolutely love the idea! The spices in this dish sounds delicious…very tasty!
Thanks for this recipe Purabi and hope you are enjoying your week 🙂
June 20, 2012 @ 2:24 am
I have not seen half of these types of lentils :-). The dal looks so good, I feel like going and making it with the two types I have right now!
June 27, 2012 @ 9:04 am
Thanks RecipeNewZ. What an honour to have you here!
June 20, 2012 @ 2:57 am
flavourful dal and presentation
June 20, 2012 @ 3:42 am
June 20, 2012 @ 9:36 am
Purabi, this is one of those magical Indian vegetarian dishes which could satisfy even such a carni- and piscivore as me! Can you imagine that I have three of the lentil varieties in my kitchen and have never cooked two of them? (mung dal and urad dal). I often buy some products, want to experiment and then forget them… Thank you for this fabulous recipe.
June 20, 2012 @ 12:54 pm
Hearty, healthy n yummy delicious Pancharattan Dal, lovely clicks and presentation 🙂
On Going Event EP Series Basil or Cardamom @Cook-Ezee
June 20, 2012 @ 3:26 pm
Bah ki darun dal…dekhei gorom bhaat diye khete ichee korchee 🙂
June 20, 2012 @ 5:49 pm
yum dal……….excellen preparation.
June 20, 2012 @ 7:25 pm
I adore panchrattan dal. In fact, this is what I am cooking tonight!!! Loved the pictures.
June 20, 2012 @ 7:26 pm
I love panchratan dal…..in fact that’s what I’m cooking tonight! Loved the pictures and the recipe.
June 20, 2012 @ 7:29 pm
Gorom Gorom bhaat and this daal 🙂 May be some nimbu on the side and that would make my lunch delicious.
June 21, 2012 @ 4:32 am
Irresistible lentil curry…wow! Perfect for my lunch now 🙂
Nami | Just One Cookbook
June 21, 2012 @ 4:51 am
I did not know there are so many kinds of lentils! It was quite informative to me and of course at the end you made delicious meal! 😉
June 21, 2012 @ 5:35 am
I think I’ve only cook with the yellow and green lentils before. I love the colorful combination in yours. I didn’t know about the aged lentils from fresh one, I better check the packaging next time I buy them. Thanks for the useful tips.
June 21, 2012 @ 5:46 am
Looks so good, great with some rotis..
Kit @ i-lostinausten
June 21, 2012 @ 7:29 am
What a great post full with new infos! I’ve never know that they’re so many varieties of lentils! This is indeed a very lovely dish full with colors! Looks so inviting & very healthy too; Love your pictures that looks so appetizing! 🙂
June 21, 2012 @ 10:58 am
healthy dal.. thanks for stopping by my space and leaving a lovely comment..
June 21, 2012 @ 11:20 am
Dal looks absolutely divine ,purabi thank q for visiting my blog…
June 21, 2012 @ 12:30 pm
If you can only use one type of lentil for dal, which one would it be?
June 22, 2012 @ 2:29 am
David, i’d prefer white gram. Split red lentils are also fine.
June 21, 2012 @ 12:46 pm
Hi Purabi Naha ,
I’m Punitha of http://www.southindiafoodrecipes.blogspot.in
Thank you for your visit to my blog and your valuable comment.
Dal looks delicious and Neat presentation Purabi Naha:)
Welcome to my blog and i wish your regular comments , Thank you…
June 21, 2012 @ 6:30 pm
dal looking delicious and inviting….
Thanks for dropping your comments and visiting my space…
Glad to follow you 🙂
Healthy cooking Blog
June 22, 2012 @ 2:22 am
Its the most healthy, high in protein.
June 22, 2012 @ 8:00 am
Hi Purabi Naha ,
one request to you Purabi Naha ,
I posted a guest post at Lavanya’s blog.
Do drop a comment at Lavanya’s recipes….
thank you Purabi Naha and Keep on:)
June 22, 2012 @ 12:23 pm
hi thanks for dropping in my space … very glad to follow ur blog..i liked you blog ..very much
Marta @ What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today
June 23, 2012 @ 3:05 pm
I had a mexican morning today, but I so think I should have an indian evening…
June 23, 2012 @ 9:22 pm
looks so yummmyyyyyyy
denise @ singapore shiok
June 24, 2012 @ 12:00 am
Hi Purabi, I LOVE dal!! I honestly think the best vegetarian cuisine in the world in Indian – I never miss the meat when I am eating Indian vegetarian as the dishes are always so satisfying. I’m very familiar with all the lentils except for chilkewali mung which I have never seen. Thanks for the lesson!
June 24, 2012 @ 6:56 am
I love Dahl but never get it right, always looks like mush when I do it. I’m doing to try your mix of lentils it looks just perfect. Thanks.
June 24, 2012 @ 9:14 am
I’ve never cook lentils..I should try one of these days. Your dahl curry is great with all kinds of rotis..thumbs up!
June 24, 2012 @ 5:12 pm
Wonderfull dal curry…Nutritous curry indeed !
June 25, 2012 @ 6:15 am
tempting n healthy ..;)
June 25, 2012 @ 2:18 pm
I love dal. And I actually have all of the dals on hands (except for the split mung pulses). A couple of those are getting kind of old, though, so I need to use them up in a hurry. Really nice recipe – love the spices. Thanks.
June 25, 2012 @ 2:50 pm
Thank you friends for liking this recipe so much! I appreciate your comments and suggestions. Thank you for stopping by…
June 27, 2012 @ 1:14 am
… looks great!! Haven’t had it in years. Will have to try it soon!!
Renu navin paliwal
June 28, 2012 @ 4:35 am
looks wonderful.. will try it soon…thanks for stopping by my blog and so i came to this interesting space of yours:)
July 1, 2012 @ 8:39 pm
Your blog is an inspiration,Purabi! I’ve passed on an award to you. Pls check it out at my space. Joyful cooking!
July 2, 2012 @ 6:56 pm
Informative post. I’ve always wanted to make this dal…
Laura (The Spiced Life)
August 10, 2012 @ 4:42 am
I adore Indian curries and make loads of them–and then struggle with how to photograph them in a more appetizing manner. The whole spices on the dal is brilliant and looks wonderful. I am pinning this to make!
January 18, 2013 @ 12:13 pm
Yummy! 🙂 I love all kinds of lentils 🙂
February 9, 2014 @ 9:53 pm