Saturday, 24 May 2008

Dalna / Dalma / Lentils & Vegetables cooked together

Dalna or Dalma (in Oriya ) is a complete dish by itself. Simple and made with a minimum of fuss.

Whatever leftover vegetables are lying in the refrigerator can be used. I make this when am cleaning out the fridge.

The dal used can be yellow moong (dry roast it lightly first in a kadhai) or chana dal. I have tried making it with whole green moong dal too ... is equally wonderful. Those who like coconut can use grated coconut too.

Need :
Yellow moong dal or Chana dal , vegetables cut into cubes ( potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, beans, pumpkin, brinjals ....), sliced onions, haldi / turmeric powder, salt & sugar to taste, whole red chillies, ghee, roasted jeera powder, oil to cook, grated coconut(optional).

Paanch Phoron : A mixture of Methi / Fenugreek + kalonji / Nigella + Jeera / cumin + Rai / Mustard + Saunf / Fennel seeds in equal quantities ( keep the methi seeds a little less than the equal amount ).

How to :
Heat oil in a cooker. Add the Paanch Phoron and whole red chillies.
Add the sliced onions and fry. Now add all the vegetables and fry well.
Add haldi, salt and sugar. Add the dal.

If using grated coconut add now.

Fry well.
Now add water and a tbsp of ghee and roasted jeera powder. Pressure cook till dal and the vegetables are cooked.

If needed add water and bring to a boil. Simmer for some more time.
Garam masala can be added if preffered....I don't takes away the simple flavour of the vegetables and dal.

This goes very well with hot rice as well as rotis. As for me ... I can never resist the temptation of luchis (puris) made some for myself .

Alternatively ...this can be done by cooking the dal first in a cooker with haldi and salt. Fry the vegetables in a different kadhai with the seasonings and then add the dal and boil for some more time.
I use the cooker coz it saves time and need less oil.


  1. Hi,
    Ur dalma looks amazing:-).Just some points..
    1.Garam masala is never added to dalma.At the end u can add bhaja jeera gunda(roasted cumin powder) instead.
    2.u can boil dal,when done halfway add vegetables.The veges should be added in such a order that the veges which take least amt of time to cook should be added last.In this way u wont end with mushy veges,which is a complete no-no for a good dalma.
    At the end u can give tadka with panch phutan,whole red chillies,tomatoes.
    ...Hope this is useful

  2. Hi Anon (I'd have loved to know your name),

    Thank you for taking care to leave such good points for me.

    I agree to most of them ... but since am a Bengali I know some people prefer to have a little garam masala added ....

    do note that I have mentioned "if preffered ... I don't" ... :-)
    And I have mentioned roasted jeera ... I know dalma won't be the same without it.

    Regarding the veggies, where I stay veggies are not that fresh as back home ... so I assure you they don't end up mushy ( The snap does not do proper justice).

    Lastly ... I almost always cook everything directly in the pressure cooker ... including the phutana ... coz it saves time. And I like all the flavours fused in together in any dish.

    Thanks again for your interest. :-)

  3. And yes Anon, I have mentioned the other way of cooking dalma too ... looks like you did not go thru the whole post first. :-)

  4. Dear Sharmila

    I was looking for a simple, healthy and quick dal+veggies recipe and I tried your recipe for dalma - I wanted to say thanks, the dish came out well and was much appreciated by those who ate and it was a delight to cook it.

    I made it without garam masala as I wanted a simple dish and no over-powering masala flavours. Also, I used frozen veggies so I could cut down cooking time to bare minimum.

    Thanks for sharing this :-)

  5. Glad you liked it Vaishnavi. And thanks for letting me know ... always a pleasure to hear nice words from you. :-)


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