Dalma...A regional Lentil Delicacy


A few things happen when parents visit grown up kids... And I love every single one of those things.

# 1. You tend to become a child again..even if its only in the eyes of your parents.
#2. You talk non stop about old days and what you used to do,love and eat as a child..you are again as happy as a child...and yes, you do catch up on the family gossip!
#3. They still pamper you silly, although you should be the one pampering them.
#4. Your mom will cook all your childhood faves, no matter how much you insist that she shouldn't tire herself out... (and you will HOG everything, much too happily) <3
#5. It will warm your heart to hear your dad say "drive safe" even today, just like he did when you used to zip around on your scooty.
#6. You will finally forget Italian, French and Thai, and simply soak up the home grown delicacies you were brought up on..and You will vouch that they are still the best.
#7. You will get some time away from your mischievous lil monkey and watch that long awaited latest episode of your fave drama series... Mine right now is Downton Abbey's latest.. !!
#8. You will try your hand at long forgotten regional faves and of course take pics and write a post...Hello.... !! Life of a food blogger!! ;)
#9. You will be Happy. Real Happy.

This is exactly what happened to me during those two wonderful weeks that my parents visited...
Love, sheer unbridled love is what I got..Baby D got to spend and know her nanu nani a little better..and thoroughly got attached to them, P and Me loved spending time with them... watching my bro's wedding video..incessant chatter and laughter..games played late into the night...and amazing amazing food.
Yes, I cooked. I don't make my mom slog...the whole time atleast :P  !!

But then, my mom loves to cook...In fact most of what I know of Indian cuisine is thanks to her and the basic knowledge she had instilled in me since I was 12 yrs... I could cook. Always.
And then she cooked coz of course she wanted to feed me...and P (more imp) the regional Oriya cuisines which I rarely make...unless its got something to do with non veg or sweets.
Don't get me wrong. Oriyas in general are good cooks..we make amazing non veg recipes, but somehow I don't share the love of green and simple cooking the region majors in..and so I tend to give it a miss..
Not to mention the fact that I am married to a foodie who needs variety just like me, and both of us have never been able to stick to a particular region per se ..The world is our oyster, and we plan to eat it all :D

So anyways, first thing I asked my mom to cook was Dalma...Its a Dal mixed with vegetables and special spices...
You think Dal..??? Thats the dish I ask my mum to make?? Dal??????? :O

But let me share a state secret with you... This is no mere dal...This is the dal served to the Gods...
Lord Jagannath , the reigning deity of Orissa resides in his beautiful abode in Puri..the Puri Jagannath temple is famous to say the least...and their prasad (entire lunch) has THIS specific dal as a much much loved item.
It can be made using tur/arhar dal...and various veggies cooked in it, simmered in a special spice blend and an aromatic tempering in the form of "paanch phoron".... served over with ghee (clarified butter) and some coconut shavings, it puts the D in Delicious and the D in Dal.

Try this one for yourself...Packed full of protein, minerals and vitamins, fragrant from the subtle spice mix, mildly hot from the tempering and scrumptious from the addition of coconut and ghee, this is one packed meal...and one delicious pot of dal to your plain steamed rice.

Served hot with rice, some veg curries, bhujias, saag, salad and raita..
 Its a staple at my childhood home..and has many delectable dinner stories woven around it....

Here's how you add this simple yet divine dal to your home lunch menu:


Arhar/tur dal or Split Chick peas 1 cup
Veggies: all cut into medium dices,of similar sizes
Potato - 2 small
Carrot -1 large
Pumpkin -1/2 cup
Brinjal -1/2 cup
Raw Papaya - 1/2 cup
(You can also add yam, raw bananas,Striped Pear Gourd,Drumsticks).

Onion 1 chopped fine.
Tomato 1 chopped fine.
Ginger 1 inch
Garlic cloves 5-6
Green chillies 2-3
Coriander leaf - for garnish
Dried Red Chillie 1
Bay Leaf 1
Sugar 1 tbsp

Spice Mix/ Paanch phoren : 1 tsp
Fennel seeds
Cumin seeds
Mustard Seeds
Fenugreek Seeds
Nigella seeds

Powdered masala:
Garam Masala 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Red Chillie Powder 1 tsp
Salt. as per taste

Coconut Shavings or grated coconut 1/2 half cup(or less,acc to taste)
Desi ghee /Clarified butter 1 tsp
Refine oil 1 tbsp


Start by dicing the vegetables into similar sizes.
Wash the dal thoroughly.
Add the veggies and dal to a pressure cooker, add the 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder, salt and 3 cups of water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles till cooked.
Next, take the ginger,garlic and green chilies and smash them well in a mortar and pestle.
Add some oil to a kadhai or pan, Once hot, add the broken red chillie, bay leaf, the spice mix or Paanch Phoren to the oil..
Once fragrant, add the smashed ginger-garlic-chillie and saute for a min.
Add the onions and saute till pink..
Add the tomatoes to it, all the powdered masalas or spices,sugar and salt, and cook for 5 minutes till masalas are cooked and tomatoes are mixed well.
Next add the cooked dal and veggie mix to the fried masala or spice mix...add some water if you feel its too thick, and let it cook on high for 2 mins.
Once boiled, add the ghee and simmer for 7-8 minutes till fragrant and gloriously cooked.
Pour into a serving pot,
Garnish with fresh coconut shavings and coriander on top... 

Bringing you a slice of old me,
S :) 
PS: pic taken today, not old!

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