One of the best ways to experience any Indian cuisine is to order a thali. A thali represents all elements of that cuisine in the finest detail. An important part of any thali is the dal. It is one of the primary sources of protein in vegetarian diets. All cuisines have their own take on the ubiquitous dal making it distinctive, decadent and delicious.
Including pulses (dals) in your daily diet can have many benefits. Along with protein, they are full of vitamins, magnesium, zinc, fibre and potassium. To add to the nutritional value of a dal, sometimes many different pulses are combined together to make a single dish. This also enhances the flavour and makes this nutritious dish more appealing.
Here’s a look at some of the most well-known dals that combine multiple pulses.
This dal features on almost every Indian restaurant’s menu. As one of the most famous dishes from Punjabi cuisine, it is has traversed all over the world. Dal Makhani is a creamy, rich dal which is traditionally cooked overnight on a slow flame. Main ingredients of Dal Makhani are rajma (kidney beans) and black whole urad dal. Spices such as chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, and tej patta (bay leaf) are added along with onions, tomatoes and ginger-garlic paste to create the signature taste of this dal. An essential part of this dish is the cream which is added towards the end.
Panchratna dal or panchmel dal is a Rajasthani recipe. As the name suggest, this dal is made using five different pulses – urad dal, chana dal, moong, masoor dal, and toor dal. These dals are mixed together in equal quantities, soaked, and cooked. The recipe includes a spicy tadka that consists of cardamom, cloves, green chillies, red chillies, ginger, tomatoes, and an assortment of spices. For an authentic taste, it is recommended to use ghee while tempering this dal. Panchratna dal packs the natural goodness of five pulses in one dish, making it a must in your weekly menu.
This quintessential Sindhi dal combines three pulses commonly found in the Indian kitchen – chana dal, green moong, and split (white) urad dal. To add flavour to this recipe, green chillies, tomatoes, ginger, turmeric powder and salt are added to the pressure cooker while cooking the dal. Tidali Dal features an aromatic tadka which includes flavourful ingredients such as jeera, garlic, red chillies, and hing which are added to hot ghee.
The loyal companion to dishes such as idli and dosa, Sambar is a nutritious dal which combines the goodness of pulses with vegetables. Traditionally made with toor dal, some versions of Sambar use a combination of toor and moong dal as well. The dal is cooked with vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, brinjal, potato, bottle gourd, drumsticks etc. A special sambar masala, a blend of spices which is readily available in the market is added to the dal for taste. While sambar in each South Indian state tastes different, it is a delicious inclusion to any meal in its each avatar.
These dishes are healthy, nutritious, and comforting. Ensure that the dals you use for cooking are unpolished, unprocessed, and naturally rich to get the maximum nutritional value from your food. Whether it is a part of your meal or the star of your thali, include this protein punch in your meal always.
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