Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Panchmel Dal / Pancharatna Dal ( Mix of Five Lentils )

Lentils/Dal form an important part of any Indian meal. Different variety and styles are used in different parts of the country. It means that you can try a different one every day.J Usually served as a side dish, it’s a tasty way to get your protein for the day.

Panchkuti / Panchmel Dal is a traditional lentil dish that was originated in Rajasthan. This tasty and nutritious dish of Rajasthan is a staple in almost every household in Rajasthani cuisine. Though it is generally served with famous Dal Batti, but also goes well with hot steamed rice or with Indian flat bread. Considered as extremely nutritious, a protein packed dish as it contains the goodness and nutritive qualities of 5 different lentils/dals. Panchamel dal is also known as panchratna dal. The word Panch means five and Ratna means jewels.J 

So as the name suggests, it is prepared from five different lentils. Split Urad dal, chana dal, whole masoor dal, split moong dal and toor / arhar dal are commonly used. Other ingredients that make this dish richer in taste and flavor are chopped tomato, cinnamon, cloves, cumin seeds, chopped green chilies, turmeric powder, grated ginger, lemon juice and some chopped cilantro. The lentils are first cooked in a pressure cooker till they are soft and then simmered together with other ingredients. 

First time I made this dal when I had small quantity of different dals in my kitchen. I was trying to use all of those together and so was searching for the recipe. I found the following one and tried out. The result was so delicious and aromatic that it has now become a favorite at my home. I have made few alterations, used onion and garlic, though it is delectable even without them. I have used pink lentil / Masoor dal in the place of whole masoor.

If you are in India, then you will get 5 different dals in one packet in most of the popular retail stores. Or you can also try with whatever variety you already have in your pantry. You would love the final product anyway J

Recipe of Panchmel Dal / Pancharatna Dal ( Mix of Five Lentils ) : serves 5 


Mixed Dal / Lentils : 1 cup ( equal amounts of chana dal, green moong dal, masoor dal, Toor / arhar dal, urad dal)

Oil : 3 tablespoons
Asafoetida (hing) : 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin seeds : 1/2 teaspoon 
Red Chilies : 1 ( broken )
Green Cardamom : 3
Cinnamon stick : 1/2 inch
Cloves : 2 

Onion : 1 small one, finely chopped 
Garlic : 1 tablespoon, finely chopped or paste ( you can skip onion and garlic )
Ginger :1 teaspoon, grated 

Turmeric powder : 1/2 teaspoon
Red chili powder : 1/2 teaspoon ( as per your tolerance )
Coriander powder : 1 teaspoon 

Tomato : 1 medium, chopped 

Salt : to taste 
Cilantro : a handful, chopped 

Method :

1. Wash and soak all the lentils in water for half an hour. Now take the dal in a pressure cooker, add 3 to 4 cups of water. Close the lid and let it cook until 3 whistles come. You may cook the dal in a pot or a sauce pan, but it will take lot of time. Once dal is well-cooked, set it aside.

2. Take a big pan, add oil and heat it up. Add cumin seeds, green cardamoms, cinnamon stick, cloves and broken red chili to the pan, wait until they are fragrant. Now add asafoetida. 

3. (If you are using onion and garlic) Add chopped onion, stir it until it is translucent. Add the garlic, cook till the raw smell goes off. 

4. Add ginger, stir and mix it. Now add the turmeric powder, red chili powder and coriander powder. Stir it until oil starts coming out from the sides of the pan. Add the chopped tomato, add salt and cook it until tomato becomes soft. 

5. Once the spices are well cooked, add the cooked dal. Add salt, add water to get the right consistency. Simmer the dal for another 8 to 10 minutes.

6. Check the consistency, check seasoning. Add a handful of chopped cilantro and switch off the gas. Serve hot with rice or Indian flat bread.

Related Recipes, you also might like :

Yellow Mung with Bell Pepper

Bengali Style Cholar Dal

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