Dal is a really versatile dish in Indian cuisine. Every region has their own version of this recipe. Basically, it is a lentil-based stew sautéed with variable spices and vegetables and primarily eaten with rice and Indian bread. Some dal’s can be really light and watery, whereas others are thick and fully of chunky vegetables and/or meats – similar to a thick American chili.
What I personally love about dal is that you can use multiple lentils/grains in one dish. As an Indian family that is constantly cooking at home, we have so many types of lentils and grains in our pantry that being able to “use up” those little extra amounts left in the bags and bottles is a big help! Haha!
Not only that, but lentils are pretty easy to prepare. If you have an Instapot or pressure cooker, you can prepare a delicious dal in no time. (Which by the way, I recommend purchasing at least 1 of them for your kitchen. I personally have grown up using a pressure cooker, so I am used to using that. I haven’t gotten an Instapot yet, but know a lot of people who love using that for many of their cooking.)
Mixed Grain Dal is a great dish to make for anyone that enjoy a hearty lentil stew or curry. In this recipe I’ve added spinach to the pot, just to add some greens, but you can surely make this recipe without it. Just follow the rest of the recipe and omit the spinach part.
THis dish is great when eaten with rice and your favorite Indian bread. I particulary enjoy this with wheat rotli as it is a lighter bread and also a healthy option for me. Regardless, what you choose to eat this dal with – you will love the ease and creamy flavors that come out from all the different lentils in this recipe. It is a delicious comfort food that I make for my family all the time.
MIXED GRAIN DAL (Indian Lentil Stew)
- 2 tomatoes (diced small)
- 2 medium onions (diced small)
- 2 serrano chilis (diced small)
- 2 Tbsp. cumin seed
- ½ cup ketchup
- 10-12 curry leaves
- 3 Tbsp. Madras curry powder
- 1 Tbsp. salt (add more to taste)
- ½ cup of oil or ghee (ghee adds a richer taste to dal and optional)
- 1 to 1 ½ cup total of mixed grains – washed and rinsed well. (1.5 to 2 oz. each of wheat, barley, split yellow peas, split mung beans, skinless black gram, dried red lentil beans)
- 1 medium onion (diced small)
- 8-10oz of chopped spinach (fresh/frozen) *optional
- Put oil on medium heat in a pressure cooker.
- When oil is hot, add cumin seeds, curry leaves, jalapeno, tomato, onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes to soften veggies a bit.
- Add curry powder, salt, ketchup, and mix well with the veggies. Cover briefly with a regular lid (no need to tighten pressure cooker lid at this point) and let simmer on medium heat 5-7 minutes or until the veggie’s breakdown into a thick, semi-chunky gravy.
- Add mixed grains and water. Mix all together well till blended.
- Cover and tighten pressure cooker cover completely. Cook about 35-45 minutes on medium low heat.
- Once time is up, turn off heat and release pressure from the pressure cooker before attempting to unlock the lid and open.
- Once pressure is released, open pot and make sure the dal is soft and creamy. (Consistency should be thick and chunky. If not, cover pressure cooker again and allow to cook for another 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat.)
- Serve hot with rice and/or Indian bread.
Dal is a perfect meal for any day of the week. It is usually eaten in our family at least 2 to 3 times a week because not only is it a simple dish to prepare but it can be made in so many different ways, with the addition of a meat or vegetable, that there is no option for a boring dish.
Let me know what you think of this recipe! Feel free to comment below, tag me on IG @cmspiceculture or on FB at “Spice Culture Cooking.”