Gujarati dal recipe is a unique tasting soupy lentil dish that has two contrasting flavors - sweet and sour. A bit of sweet and some sourness in any dish tastes too good and so does in this Gujarati dal. It is a veganrecipe made without onion and garlic.
First pick the arhar dal or pigeon pea lentils for stones etc.
Then rinse the lentils thoroughly in running water for 4 to 5 times.
Add the rinsed dal in a 3 litre pressure cooker. Add water. Pressure cook for 7 to 8 minutes on a medium to high heat.
Read on below in the notes section on cooking lentils in the Instant pot or in a pan.
The lentils have to be cooked completely and softened really well.
Mash the dal very well with a wired whisk or with a spoon. The lentils should be mashed very well.
Making gujarati dal
Add green chili-ginger paste, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander-cumin powder, jaggery, salt, tomato(optional) and kokums. Mix well.
Add water to get a medium to medium-thin consistency. Mix again and keep the cooker back on the stove top.
Bring the dal to a simmer on a low heat for 7 to 8 minutes stirring often.
Heat oil or ghee in a small pan. Crackle mustard seeds first and then add cumin seeds.
Add the dry red chilies, cloves, cinnamon, curry leaves, asafoetida and fenugreek seeds.
Stir and fry for some seconds until the red chilies change color.
Carefully, pour this tempering mixture together with the oil in the simmering dal. Switch off the heat.
Add coriander leaves. Finally stir the dal.
Serve piping hot gujarati dal with steamed rice.
Gujarati dal is best served with hot steamed rice. Drizzle a bit of ghee on the dal if you like. Have a complete meal by pairing the dal and rice with a side of any Indian vegetable dish or salad or raita or a plain yogurt.
You can relish the dal with some soft roti or crispy paratha or even bread or dinner rolls (pav).
It is best to eat Gujarati dal when freshly cooked. Lentils always taste best when served hot and as soon as they are cooked. If you have leftovers, then store in the refrigerator and try to consume the same day or at the most next day.
Dal when refrigerated, will thicken with a change in flavor and taste. Refrigerated dal does not taste as better or good than freshly cooked dal. Moreover I suggest that for health reasons, it is best to eat dal the day it is made.
Lentils: Though traditionally Gujarati dal is made with tur dala (pigeon pea lentils), feel free to use mung lentils (moong dal) or pink lentils (masoor dal). Equal proportions of different lentils also work well in this recipe. I recommend to use unpolished tur dal for optimum taste, flavor and for health reasons.
Gluten-free option: Asafoetida gives some onion and garlic flavor to the dal. If you do not use asafoetida, the flavor will be different. If you have gluten allergy, I suggest to omit the asafoetida, and include ¼ to ⅓ cup chopped onions and ½ to 1 teaspoon chopped garlic in the lentils when cooking them. Or use a gluten free asafetida.
Kokum: Swap kokum with 1 to 2 teaspoons of unsweetened tamarind pulp/sauce or 1 to 2 teapsoons of lemon juice. Add the lemon juice after you add the tempering ingredients to the dal.
Peanuts: Add about ¼ cup peanuts when cooking the lentils. Peanuts can be soaked for 30 minutes prior to cooking them.
Cooking Lentils in a pan: For cooking the lentils in a pan or pot on the stove-top, soak them for an hour. Take the lentils and about 2.5 to 3 cups water in a pan. Cover and cook on medium-low to medium heat. If the water starts frothing and bubbling likely to spill over, remove the lid or cover it partly and simmer. It may take 30 to 45 minutes for the lentils to cook depending on their quality and age.
Pressure cooking lentils in Instant Pot: Add the lentils and 2 cups water in the inner steel insert of your Instant pot. Pressure cook for 10 to 12 minutes on high pressure until the lentils have softened. You can also cook rice when pressure cooking lentils by placing a pan/pot of rice and water on a trivet placed inside the steel insert. After you hear the beep sound, when the cooking is complete, wait for 10 minutes and then give a quick pressure release. Mash the lentils and then later add the tempering ingredients to the dal. If the consistency looks thin, use the 'sauté' function and simmer the dal for some minutes until you get the desired consistency.
Scaling: You can easily scale this recipe to make a small or a big batch of dal.