Panchmel dal also known as panchratna dal is a protein-packed lentil dish that contains the goodness and nutritive qualities of 5 different lentils or dals. Not only it is healthy but also equally delicious. This hearty and nutritious recipe comes from Rajasthani cuisine and made without onion and garlic.
About Panchmel Dal
Panchmel dal is also called as Panchratna dal or dal panchmel. The word Panch means five and the Dal is for lentils in Hindi language.
The 5 lentils that are used in the panchmel dal recipe are:
- Bengal gram dal – chana dal
- Black gram – urad dal
- Green gram dal – moong dal
- Pigeon peas split and skinned – arhar, tuvar, toor, tur dal
- Moth bean split – moth dal
Decades back I had first read about this recipe in the Times of India newspaper. The recipe in the newspaper was detailed by Maharana Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur.
I adapted and tweaked this recipe to suit our taste buds and the results were a delicious, flavorful dal, that has been a favorite with my family for a long time. You might be surprised that this dish does not contain any onion and garlic but still taste so good.
While moth dal is one of the lentils I didn’t have it, so I used masoor dal also known as red lentil or pink lentil. If you stay in India, then in food outlets like spencers, big bazaar, reliance mart etc, you get a package of 500 gram or 1 kilogram of the 5 different dals which are mainly used in Indian cuisine, namely – chana dal, moong dal, tuvar dal, masoor dal, urad dal.
You can use this mix lentil package or use equal proportion of all 5 lentils. You could even use the skinned and split variety of the above dals.
How to make Panchmel Dal
Pressure cooking dals
1. Rinse 1 cup of mixed lentils couple of times in water – chana dal, moong dal, masoor dal, arhar dal and urad dal. You can use equal proportion of these 5 lentils. If you have moth dal then do use it.
You can even make this dish with a combination of 2 or 3 or 4 lentils depending upon the availability of the lentils.
2. In a bowl, soak all the lentils in water for 30 to 45 minutes. The lentils will soak after 30 to 45 minutes but you can soak even for 1 to 2 hours.
3. Drain all the water.
4. Measure all the ingredients and keep ready for making panchmel dal. Get your spices ready. Chop tomatoes. Crush the ginger and green chili in a mortar pestle and set aside.
5. Add the soaked lentils in a 3 liter pressure cooker. Pour 3 to 3.5 cups water in the cooker.
You can also cook the lentils in a pan or Instant pot. Use the required amount of water if cooking in a pan or Instant pot.
6. Pressure cook the lentils on medium heat for 4 to 5 whistles or till they are completely cooked and softened. Note that cooking lentils in a pot will take more time.
7. Open the lid of the pressure cooker only when all the pressure inside the cooker falls naturally. Mash the cooked lentils lightly with a spoon or wired whisk.
If the consistency looks thick, then add some hot water and stir to get a medium consistency in the lentil mixture.
Making panchmel dal
8. In another frying pan, heat 2 to 3 tablespoons oil or ghee.
9. Lower the heat and add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds. Let them splutter.
10. Then add 2 cloves, 2 green cardamoms and 2 to 3 broken dried red chilies with seeds removed.
11. Fry till the spices crackle and the red chilies change color. Ensure not to burn the spices.
12. Then add 1 inch crushed ginger and 1 crushed green chili. Stir and fry for a few seconds or till the raw aroma of ginger goes away.
13. Then add 1 chopped large-sized tomato. Mix well.
14. Next add the following spices and mix well.
- ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon garam masala powder.
15. Saute the tomatoes well on low heat till they become soft and mushy. You should see oil separating from the tomato masala.
16. Then add this fried tempering mixture to the cooked lentils in the pressure cooker.
17. Mix well and simmer the dal for 5 to 6 minutes on low heat, so that the flavors of the spices infuse well with the lentils. Keep stirring often so that the lentils do not stick on the bottom of the cooker.
18. Add salt according to taste and mix well.
19. Garnish the dal with some coriander leaves (cilantro). This step is optional.
20. While serving, if you prefer top the panchratna dal with 1 to 2 teaspoons ghee in the serving bowl. It will make the dal taste more flavorful.
21. Serve dal panchmel with roti, steamed rice, jeera rice or dal bati – a famous and unique Rajasthani recipe made from wheat flour.
- If you don’t have 5 lentils then you can even make this dish with 2 or 3 or 4 lentils.
- Use the lentils that are fresh and in their shelf period. Aged lentils will take a lot of time to cook.
- This dal is not spicy. To make a spicy dal increase the number of green chillies. Optionally you can add some red chili powder to the tempering mixture.
- Soaking the lentils helps to reduce the cooking time and makes them cook evenly.
- You can choose to cook the lentils in a pot or pan adding require amount of water.
If you are looking for more Dal Recipes then do check:
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total 1 cup lentils consisting equal amounts of
- bengal gram dal (chana dal)
- green gram dal (moong dal)
- pink lentils (masoor dal)
- pigeon peas spilt and skinned (tuvar dal or arhar dal)
- black gram (urad dal)
- 3 to 3.5 cups water for pressure cooking the dals
- 2 green cardamom
- 2 cloves
- 1 green chilli, – crushed in a mortar pestle
- 2 to 3 red chillies, broken and seeds removed
- 1 inch ginger – crushed in a mortar pestle
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
- ¼ teaspoon asafoetida powder (hing)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or oil
- salt as required
Pressure cooking lentils
- Rinse all the lentils for a couple of times in fresh water.
- Then soak them in water for 30 to 45 minutes. After 30 to 45 minutes drain all the water.
- Pressure cook the lentils with water for 4 to 5 whistles on a medium heat or till they are completely cooked and softened.
- Mash the cooked lentils lightly with a spoon.
- If the lentils mixture look thick, then add some hot water and stir to get a medium consistency in it.
Making panchmel dal
- In another frying pan, heat oil or ghee. On a low heat add cumin seeds. Let them splutter. Then add the cloves, cardamoms and broken dried red chilies with seeds removed.
- Fry till the red chilies change color. Add the crushed ginger and green chilly. Fry them for a few seconds or till the raw aroma of ginger goes away.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, asafoetida (hing), turmeric powder and garam masala powder.
- Saute the tomatoes well on a low flame till they become soft and mushy. The oil or ghee will also separate.
- Now add this fried tempering mixture to the lentils. Mix well.
- Simmer the dal for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring often so that the flavors of the spices infuse well with the lentils.
- Add salt as per taste and mix well. Garnish it with coriander leaves. Adding coriander leaves is optional.
- You can choose to add a drizzle of about 1 to 2 teaspoons of ghee to the dal panchmel in the serving bowl.
- Serve panchmel dal with roti, rice, jeera rice, paratha or dal bati.
- Use lentils that are fresh.
- You can use a combination of 2 or 3 or 4 lentils.
- The recipe can be scaled.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Panchmel Dal recipe post from the archives (Feb 2010) has been republished and updated on 12 June 2021.