This mixed dal recipe is a delightful combination of three types of lentils — urad, chana, and rajma; all high in fiber and proteins. Also known as dhabey wali dal or dhaba dal, it is inspired by the dal served in Indian dhabas — little no-frills eateries all along the highways. Every states’ cuisine has its own special mix of lentils. The ones along Rajasthan’s highways, where I travel most, serve this mix dal combination.
The dal is very aromatic and I usually reserve the recipe when I am hosting people at home. It is not that it takes any longer than regular rajma masala recipe, I just like it to have that special status :-). This recipe uses just basic Indian spices but the secret ingredient of its aroma is the dried Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) added in the end.
The mixed lentils give it a unique flavor and the lentils compliment each other in taste and texture. While the red kidney beans stay firm, the urad dal becomes completely soft and the chana dal stays in between. Since the dals take a bit longer to cook, especially rajma, it is important to soak them in water for at least 4-6 hours before preparing or otherwise, you would just need to cook them in the pressure cooker for a lot longer.
Health Benefits of Lentils
Did you know, lentils are small but densely packed with proteins? Rich in complex carbohydrates, micronutrients, proteins and B-vitamins; lentils are a vital part of a healthy diet. They are also great meat alternatives.
Lentils are an essential part of a vegetarian Indian meal. There is a wide variety of dals that are found in India and in other cultures too. It is amazing to how theer so many different dal recipes to cook; like lentil soup, kofta curry, and roasted dal prepration.
This recipe comes from a humble chef from a roadside eatery with whom I spent almost two hours learning some of the most delicious recipes that I hope to cook soon. If you like this recipe, please take a moment to rate it and/or leave your feedback in comments. It will really encourage me to keep exploring, learning and improving.
- ½ cup split black gram with skin (chilkewali urad daal)
- ¼ cup bengal gram split (chana dal)
- ¼ cup red kidney beans (rajma)
- 4-6 cloves garlic ,finely chopped
- 2 red onions ,finely chopped
- 3 tomatoes ,finely chopped
- 2-3 green chillies ,slit into 2
- 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder *
- 1 tsp turmeric Powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tbsp ghee **
- ½ cup fresh coriander , leaves and stem finely chopped
- 2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (Kasoori methi)
- 1 lime
- Salt to taste
Wash and soak urad dal, chana dal and rajma in three cups of water for six hours.
Drain the soaked dals, add six cups of water, salt and turmeric powder and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles or until the dals are completely cooked.
Meanwhile, heat ghee in a pan, add garlic, stir-fry for a minute till it starts to brown. Add the chopped onions, green chilies and sauté for 5 minutes or until the onions start to turn translucent.
Add red chili powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder. Mix well. Add the tomatoes and cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring in between. Add in the cooked dals along with their water and mix well.
Add salt, coriander leaves (keep half for garnish) and cook dal for about 10 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.
Mix in juice of 1 lime and crushed kasoori methi leaves
- *I have used Kashmiri red chili powder which has very little heat but adds a nice natural red color to the dal. Skip it or reduce the green chilies according to your taste.
- **I use ghee for all my dal preparation. Ghee has little to no lactose but if you don’t want to use a milk derivative, use a regular cooking oil like sunflower oil or Olive-pomace oil.
Lentils can be prepared in many way – curries, soups, salads, crepes and even puddings. Click on the image below to explore more lentil recipes:
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