Panchrattan (five jewels) dal

Panchrattan (five jewels) dal

Reza’s Indian Spice

A darling of dals. The combination of these five different lentils, each with their own texture and taste, is a traditional Rajasthani idea. This is my interpretation of the dish. It is very rich and full of flavour, nourishing, healthy and earthy, so serve it simply with rice or a chapati. You may find it too thick – it is supposed to be so – but add a little water if you prefer a thinner dal. Asafoetida is known as ‘devil’s dung’ because of its potent aroma, and it is added to dishes containing beans and lentils as it is an anti-flatulent. Fresh curry leaves come in big bags, and freeze very well; just defrost them for a few minutes, pat them dry with kitchen paper and chuck them in the pan.


Quantity Ingredient

For the dal

Quantity Ingredient
20g urad dal
50g mung dal
20g toor dal
20g chana dal
25g masoor dal
1 teaspoon turmeric
a little asafoetida
3 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large onion, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3-4 green chillies, slit
1 1/2 tablespoons julienned root ginger
2 sprigs fresh curry leaves, leaves
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 lime, juiced
1-2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chilli powder
Dollop yogurt


  1. Wash all the lentils in warm water until the water runs clear. Soak in warm water for about one hour, then drain.
  2. Put the drained lentils into a heavy-based saucepan with 800ml water. Bring to the boil and remove any scum that forms. Now add the turmeric and a generous pinch of asafoetida. Cover and simmer until the lentils are almost cooked, then add some salt. Allow the lentils to cook until tender, but still retaining their textures.
  3. Heat the ghee or oil until hot in a wide frying pan, then add another pinch of asafoetida and the cumin seeds. Once they begin to splutter, add the onion and fry until it starts to brown at the edges. Now add the garlic, chillies and ginger. Continue to fry until the whole mixture turns golden brown, then toss in the curry leaves.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the 2 tbsp ghee or oil to serve until hot, then add the chilli powder. Once hot, pour over the yogurt in a small bowl.
  5. Toss the onion mixture on to the lentils with the garam masala. Stir in the lime juice and the chopped coriander. Serve in bowls with the yogurt on the side.
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