Recipe for Dal Chawal

Dal Chawal

What can be more comforting than dal cooked in mild spices paired with Chawal served with a little ghee and your favorite pickle? This simple and soulful food is cooked in most Indian homes and is comfort food for many.

Dal means lentils, and Chawal means Rice. The recipe varies from home to home. While a richer version is served in restaurants, simpler versions are made at home.

The best part of this dish is that apart from being delicious, it is super easy to make. Even if you’ve had a long day at work and want to eat simple home-cooked food, you only need 30 minutes to make this dish. Most Indian homes have pressure cookers, and they make life very easy. They almost get used daily and are a time saver when you want to cook something fast.

In my home, when I cook Dal Chawal, I cook rice in one pressure cooker and dal in another, and simultaneously, while they are cooking, I prepare the tadka for the dal. The rice and dal take about 15 minutes to cook. The tadka is ready in 10 minutes. Once the pressure in the cooker, in which the dal is cooked, is released, I add the tadka to the dal, and that’s it. Both Dal and Chawal are ready.

Dal is an excellent protein source; rice has carbs and is gluten-free.

To eat Dal Chawal, serve some rice on your plate, add ghee ( 1/2 teaspoon is enough to elevate the dish to another level), and serve it with dal. You can take dal in a separate bowl or just pour it on the rice; it’s your choice. If you wish, serve a little pickle of your choice. Combine and eat!

This food, especially when eaten as dinner, is sure to give you a comfortable sleep at night as it is light, mildly spiced, and filling.

So, let me go ahead and share the recipe with you.

Ingredients for plain rice:

  1. Rice: Any rice would do. I made it with ‘Sona Masoori Rice.’ Basmati works well too.
  2. Water: Add based on the rice that you are using. Usually, the 1:2 ratio works when preparing rice in a cooker. i,e for every 1 cup of rice, you need 2 cups of water. But please note that this ratio can change depending on the rice, the vessel you are cooking in, etc.

Method to make plain rice:

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly.
  2. Put the rice and the required amount of water in your cooking vessel and cook till the rice is soft. Neither should it be sticky ( which means it is overcooked) nor chalky (which means it is undercooked). The grains should stand out but should be soft. It should mash easily if you take a grain and press it between your fingers.

Ingredients to make Dal:

  1. Toor Dal/ Arhar Dal: 1 cup, washed and then soaked for at least 30 minutes


  2. Ghee: 1 tablespoon
  3. Cumin seeds: 1 teaspoon
  4. Asafoetida: 1/2 teaspoon
  5. Dry red chilies: 3-4
  6. Ginger: 1 teaspoon, finely chopped
  7. Garlic: 1 teaspoon, finely chopped
  8. Onion: 1 tablespoon, finely chopped
  9. Tomato: 1 tablespoon, finely chopped
  10. Curry leaves: 8-10
  11. Kasuri Methi ( dry fenugreek leaves): 1 tablespoon
  12. Fresh Coriander leaves: for garnishing
  13. Turmeric Powder: 1 teaspoon
  14. Salt: As per taste, I added 1 1/2 teaspoons
  15. Water: About 4 cups

Method to make dal:

  1. Cook the dal with water, turmeric powder, and salt in a pressure cooker till the dal is soft and mushy.


  2. While the dal is cooking, prepare all the other ingredients and keep them ready before you go to the next step. Also, start the next step after the dal is cooked.


  3. In a Kadhai (Thick, deep cooking pot), heat ghee till it smokes. The ghee should be very hot ( it is very important). Add cumin seeds, asafoetida, ginger, garlic, red chilies, and curry leaves and fry them for about 15 seconds.


  4. Then add onions and tomatoes. Add Kasuri Methi and one tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander leaves. Everything will fry very fast because the ghee is very hot.


  5. In about 30 seconds, everything should be fried well.


  6. Then add the cooked dal. Taste and adjust the salt if needed. If the dal is too thick, add water. If it is too thin, cook for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. As it cools, it will thicken.


  7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

Serve with Rice. Enjoy!

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