Lentils are protein rich source if served alone, but if mixed with vegetables becomes wholesome and nutritious. That is the reason I stopped cooking plain lentils, each time I cook the lentils, I try to make it more wholesome by adding vegetables or leaves or even nuts.
Dalma is a medley of lentils and vegetables cooked together, incorporating each others taste and the spicy seasonings brings out the color and flavour in it. The name dalma instantly integrates one to the coastal state of Eastern India Odisha, known for its ancient art, culture and splendid architecture.
Dalma is the first recipe from Orissa that I have learnt from one of my ex colleague who is Odiya, a foodie which transformed him into a passionate cook and a good java programmer too.
Dalma is usually prepared with tuvar (toor) dal and sometimes mix with chana dal in equal proportions, sometimes with mung (moong) dal when it is known as mung (moong) dalma and if turmeric is not used then it becomes habishi dalma, a staple to the people of Odisha and offered to Lord Jagannath as prasada (divine offerings).
The choice of vegetables is often restricted to seasons, and to some extent the kind of lentils used in it. Tuvar (toor / arhar dal) can accommodate almost any kind of vegetables but if mung dal is being used, then few vegetables like eggplants and plantain seemed out-of-place.
When it comes to dalma, my choices of lentils always rest on moong, as I am a big fan of this yellow lentil and this time I have coupled it with tuvar / toor dal. The proportion varies between almost equal to half or any thing in between you prefer. Some six types of vegetables have been roughly chopped into making this delicious and healthy lentil dish called dalma.
Potatoes are omnipresent in most of the Indian dishes. Besides that yellow pumpkin, sweet potato, pointed gourd (parwal /potol), carrots, green beans and handful of peas forms the rest of the army.
Tempering and seasoning is the most important aspect of this dish as it will help to bring out the color and flavour in it. Dried red chillies, cumin seeds, bay leaf, asafoetida (hing) and panch phutana (mix of five different kind of seeds) and off course a little dollop of ghee will add the glamour to it.
- Mung / moong dal (split yellow lentils): ¼ cup
- Tuvar / toor / yellow pigeon pea : ¼ cup
- Grated ginger: 2 tsp
- Oil : 1 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
- potato: 1 medium
- Sweet potato : ½ cup chopped
- Green peas: ½ cup
- Yellow pumpkins: 10-12 pieces
- Pointed gourd / parwal / potol : 2-3 cut into chunks
- Carrots : 1 cup chopped
- Radish : 1 small
- Green beans : ½ cup cut into small pieces
- Asafoetida / hing : a pinch of
- Bay leaf: 1
- Dry red chilli: 1-2
- Cumin seeds: ½ tsp
- Panch phutana / Indian five spices: an equal measure of mustard seeds, fennel seeds. cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and nigella (kalaunji): 1 tsp
- Roasted cumin powder: ½ tsp
- Red chilli powder: ½ tsp
- Cilantro leaves (chopped): 1-2 tbsp
- Coconut scrape : 1 tbsp
- Drizzle with ghee or clarified butter : 1 tbsp
- Wash and clean the lentils and soak them in water for 15-20 minutes. Wash. peel and cut all the vegetables in large chunks.
- Pressure cook the lentils with enough water till they are fully cooked. Add the vegetables with salt and turmeric powder and pressure cook with lentils up to 3-4 whistle.
- Heat some oil in a pan and temper it with bay leaf, hing /asafoetida, dry red chilli, cumin seeds and Indian five spices. As they starts to crackle add the grated ginger, fry for a minute and add the lentils and vegetables. Mix them thoroughly, add a cup of water or more for the consistency you prefer and gently simmer on low heat till lentils and veggies mixed properly.
- The consistency of dalma should be very thick and creamy which can be achieved by partly mashing the vegetables, to get a uniform texture and this will also enrich the taste of dalma.
- Drizzle a spoonful of ghee over dalma and garnish with roasted cumin powder, red chilli powder, coconut and freshly chopped cilantro leaves.
- Serve the hot dalma with steamed rice.
Enjoy the day
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