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Simple Gujarati Daal

daal bhaat

This recipe was requested by Katrina via Ask Sanjana and it is my pleasure to share with you all, my old skool recipe for Gujarati daal. The beauty of Gujarati daal is that it is thinner and therefore lighter than your usual daal, yet also packed full of flavour. It is super important that the daal is hot, sweet and sour (almost in the same way that Thai food is… which perhaps explains my borderline-obsessive love of the Thai cuisine). As you make this daal, please bear the hot, sweet and sour rule in mind and add chilli, sugar and lemon accordingly and as required. I’ve done my best in recording my measurements of these ingredients here as Katrina mentioned that measurements were a little hazy when she used other recipes. I assure you that if you just remember the hot, sweet and sour rule you will serve perfect Gujarati ‘daarbhaat’ (daal and rice- rice recipe here) every time!

(serves 4)

1 ½ cups oily split pigeon peas (toor or tuver daal)
6 cups water

2 green chillies, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp turmeric
At least 2 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
At least 2 tbsp lemon juice (or to taste)
Salt to taste

To Temper

1 ½ tbsp ghee (or oil if you’re vegan)
½ tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida
6 curry leaves
Around 10 peanuts
Around 10 cashew nuts
2 star anise
3 cloves
1 stick cinnamon


1. Pressure cook the split pigeon peas with 6 cups of water until liquid. Sieve the mixture into a large bowl.

daal dhokri 6

It should look like this once it is sieved

2. Mix in the chillies, ginger, tomato puree, turmeric, sugar, lemon juice and salt.

3. Heat the ghee or oil in a wide pan and add the mustard seeds (wait for them to pop!) Add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, peanuts, cashew nuts, star anise, cloves and cinnamon.

4. Add the daal mixture and boil for ten to fifteen minutes, Taste (remember to find a perfect balance of hot, sweet and sour); if you need to add any more chilli, sugar or lemon then do so according to your taste.

5. Serve with a delicious bowl full of hot basmati rice!

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