Traditional Gujarati Dal

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Gujarati dal is a staple in every Gujarati household; it has been a HUGE part of my life. A traditional Gujarati dal is sweet, spicy, and tangy all at the same time. It’s usually eaten with steamed white rice and topped off with some ghee…YUMM!

This was the first thing I learned how to cook; my mom actually taught me how to make this over the phone one day when she had to work late. Of course, she didn’t give me perfect measurements… because lets be real, what Indian mom measures anything? On an interesting note I’m glad she didn’t because I’ve learned a similar technique after trial and error and have started eyeballing and tasting things myself. I have tried to measure the dal perfectly but please taste and adjust to your liking!

DBRS (dal bhat rotli shaak) was the first meal I made for my in-laws because I think this might be the best dish I make. My one-year-old son LOVES dal-bhaat (rice) just as much as I do. I’m happy he enjoys it, because it was such a big part of my childhood. The flavor profile introduces a lot of tastes he has now become accustom to, which I’ve tried to do from an early age as my mom did the same for me.

This dal is an easy and great way to impress the whole family! Be sure to tag me if you try this dish out!

Stay happy, stay hungry!

Prep time: 10 minutesCook time: 30 minutesTotal time: 35 minutesMakes: 4 servings


  • 2/3 cups toor dal (yellow split pigeon peas)
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tomato, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1-2 red dried chili
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
  • ¼ tsp asafetida (hing)
  • 1 tbs peanuts (optional)
  • 1 tsp methi masala powder
  • 1 ½ tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin coriander powder (dhana jeeru)
  • ½ tsp mango powder (amchur powder)
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 tbs jaggery
  • Salt to taste
  • 3-4 sprig of cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • 1 tbs ghee (clarified butter) optional, but highly recommended


1. Wash the toor dal thoroughly; in a pressure cook add the toor dal, 2 cups of water, and chopped tomatoes. Cook for about 4-5 whistles on medium heat (takes about 10 minutes).

2. Open the cooker once it’s cooled down. To be safe, remove the whistle then open it. Blend the dal with an emerging blender to a smooth consistency. Add a 1-1 ½ cups of water, if the dal seems too thick.

3. In a saucepan heat the oil. Wait until it’s hot to add mustard seeds, cloves, dried red chilies, and the peanuts. Cook until the mustard seeds start to crackle, then add asafetida, methi masala powder, jalapenos, and ginger. Cook for about 30 seconds.

4. Add the blended dal (add more water if necessary), red chili powder, turmeric, salt, cumin coriander powder, amchur powder, lemon juice and the jaggery. Mix everything thoroughly. Cook for about 10 minutes on medium high heat, then turn the heat to low and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

5. Turn off the heat and add the ghee (optional) and mix. Finally, add the cilantro on top and serve it while its hot!


· By adding the ghee at the end, it makes it taste like the dal you eat at weddings (my fave!)

· You can find all the spices and dal at any local Indian grocery store.

· You can wash and soak your dal for a couple of hours in advance, for less cooking time in the pressure cooker.

· The longer you simmer the dal, the better the flavors will develop.

· You can add water as needed if the consistency gets too thick.

· Serve with steamed white rice.

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