January 8, 2010

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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33 responses to “Simple Gujarati Daal”

  1. SE says:

    wow..looks so delicious..liked the ingredients for tempering..

  2. Tasty Trix says:

    This looks fantastic! I swear, I need to get a part time job just making stuff from your blog. (If anyone reading this is hiring for that, I'm available!)

  3. Priya says:

    Delicious dal, looks really comforting..

  4. shahana says:

    Looks yummm!!

  5. Sarah Naveen says:

    Nice presentation and Looks sooo delicious…

  6. Chow and Chatter says:

    oh this looks good I made dal as well, will try your way next time love Rebecca

  7. Kathy Gori says:

    kudos..it looks fab!!

  8. Laxmi Hiremath says:

    This sounds healthy too!

  9. Ju (The Little Teochew) says:

    This looks wonderful! Like a Tom Yum without the seafood. Is it thick enough to be eaten as a dip with Thosai or Prata? I am drooling as I type!!

  10. Caveman Cooking says:

    Now that's some Dal I could get down with! 😉 Looks great!!

  11. penny aka jeroxie says:

    I just love all those spices. hmmmmm

  12. Nandini says:

    Comforting dal with hot rice!

  13. Sanjana says:

    SE- Thank you!

    Tasty Trix- Lol, I hope someone out there wants to hire for that job (not just for mine but for all food blogs and you could just pick which blog you wanted to eat… literally!) That would be amazing.

    Priya- Thank you so much!

    Shahana- Lovely of you to say so 🙂

    Sarah- Thank you for your lovely comment!

    Chow and Chatter- I hope you enjoy it 🙂 Let me know how it goes!

    Kathy- Thank you 😀

    Laxmi- Thanks so much 🙂 It is very light

    Ju- It's strange how there are similar versions of similar dishes in almost every cuisine 🙂 It is a thin daal but it can be used as a dip no problem but to get through a whole bowl of it you would probably need lots more bread than you would want to eat. Although having said this, there is no problem with boiling it until it becomes thick if you want to use it in this way 🙂 My dad literally DRINKS it from a mug lol. But play around with it and get the right balance for you 🙂

    Caveman Cooking- I'm very glad 🙂 Enjoy!

    Penny- The spices just warm it right up even if you're not putting too much chilli in they just provide a gentle heat 🙂

    Nandini- Yeah, it is so comforting 🙂 Especially in cold weather!

  14. meeso says:

    Hot, sweet and sour… Yum! I love it 🙂

  15. A 2 Z Vegetarian Cuisine says:

    Daal bhaat is my favourite…with ghee specially ..very soothing and very comforting..

  16. experimentalculinarypursuits says:

    Love this! It sounds like a harmonious fusion of Indian and Thai – 2 of my faves! Spicy, Sweet & Sour sounds like a great singing trio 🙂

  17. Siddhi Shirsat says:

    wow sanjana this dal luks damn tempting…i vl surely try this 2mrw. I was in search of some good dals as was bored with the regular ones…thnx for sharing

  18. zurin says:

    O love indian food and m glad I found ur blog. 🙂 that dhall looks so good 🙂

  19. Annu says:

    Dear Sanjana, Gujarati dhal is my favourite dish. I have been after a recipe with the right measurement for a long time. Thanks for sharing your dhal recipe. I can't wait to try it. You will be glad to know that I finally made the Mohanthal while I was on holidays and that turned out really good and was very yummy. Thanks once again for all your recipes. Have a good day.

  20. Mari says:

    Looks yummy! I wish I some some here.

  21. Rohini says:

    Thats a awesome recipe… Never had such a hot-sour-sweet dal…Should try soon!!

  22. AshKuku says:

    Loved it a lot…. It is very tempting.. I love day… in any form…. & cuisine…. It feels heavenly when piping hot…


  23. MaryMoh says:

    I love soup that's hot, sweet and sour. Sometimes I use tamarind but most of the time I use lemon cos I love the tangy taste and smell. Absolutely great with a bowl of rice…mmm

  24. Mr. P says:

    I have a terribly boring question for you. So sorry in advance, but here goes:

    What happens if I don't have a pressure cooker?

    I long to make this. Get bored of ubrid dal and tarka dal. Time to branch out, methinks.

    How's the lamington brainstormig going? 🙂


  25. Sanjana says:

    Thank you for your kind comments everyone!

    Annu- I am so glad you enjoyed the mohanthal!

    Mr. P- No problemo 🙂 Sometimes I have to do it without a pressure cooker too (the pressure cooker just speeds things up) but isn't mandatory- the daal still tastes the same. If you aren't using a pressure cooker then just boil the daal in 6-7 cups of water with a pinch of baking soda. When it comes to a boil just turn heat down to low/medium and cover it (because it does this ugly foaming thing which could overflow). Just cook it until it is soft enough to pass through a sieve. I probably should have mentioned that in the post! The lamington brainstorming is going okayish, I have a couple of ideas in mind but it's a work in progress!

  26. Rochelle says:

    This looks great and I'll have to remember it for when I finally get around to making Indian food 😀

  27. Oraphan says:

    That looks and sounds so delicious and comforting! Perfect for this kind of weather!

  28. Shaniba Mohamed Rasheed says:

    nice to meet u .link with me

  29. Abraham Chacko says:

    love it…. specially with roti …

  30. Shobha says:

    This simple dal looks out of the world!
    Dal is my all time fav.
    Love Gujrati food.

  31. Kanan says:

    that is looking so amazing.

  32. Helina says:

    OMG! This recipe is so good and delicious. I always tried to make dal and it never cooked good by me. I asked my mom bcz I loved her dal but no luck for me there. So finally, today I found one and it’s a hit. I just cooked it and it’s delicious! Thanks for this recipe! Now I can make dal often!!

  33. […] with crispy paratha and plain yoghurt, or for a Gujarati feast, serve with Gujarati Daal, fluffy rice, chapattis and a glass of Salted […]

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