Rajasthani Mixed Dal

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This is the dal cooked almost daily in many homes in Rajasthan. It is served with a baked whole wheat ball that is semihard and dry called bati. When cooked, the balls are soaked in warm ghee to soften. I prefer to serve it with steamed rice.

If curry leaves have dried naturally in the refrigerator over several weeks, they are most likely still aromatic. The dried ones sold in Indian markets have no aroma or flavor and I would advise against those.


Cooking Methodsauteeing



Total Timeunder 2 hours

OccasionBuffet, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course, side dish

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Textureherby, savory, spiced


  • 1 cup (250 mL) split white lentils (urad dal)
  • ½ cup (125 mL) yellow mung beans (mung dal)
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) split yellow peas (channa dal)
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) turmeric
  • 1½ tsp (7 mL) salt
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) ghee
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) asafetida (hing)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 sprig fresh curry leaves, stripped (12 to 15 leaves) (see Notes), optional
  • 1½ cups (375 mL) chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) minced green chiles, preferably serranos
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) minced peeled ginger root
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup (250 mL) loosely packed cilantro


Clean and pick through urad, mung and channa dals for any small stones and grit. Rinse several times in cold water until water is fairly clear. Soak in 7 cups (1.75 L) water in a saucepan for 1 hour.

Bring dals to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in turmeric and boil gently, partially covered, until dals are soft but not mushy and water does not appear to be separated, about 30 minutes. Stir in salt. Set aside.

In another saucepan, heat ghee over medium heat. Add cumin, asafetida, bay leaves, cloves, cardamom and curry leaves and sauté for 20 seconds. Add tomatoes, chiles, ginger and cayenne and sauté for 2 minutes.

Pour dal into tomato mixture and mix well. If there is excess water, cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat until water looks absorbed but without drying dal too much. (It should be thick but liquidy enough to pour over rice.) Adjust consistency with a little additional warm water if too thick. Sprinkle cilantro over dal before serving.



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