Pancharatna dal/ Panch dal

This dal recipe uses five lentils and ‘Pacharatna’ means five jewels. So that is how it got it’s name.This dal has a lot of regional variations as in the combination of dals. Some people use onion and garlic while others don’t. Some add cream or yoghurt to the gravy. All said and done  you can twist and tweak the recipe to your taste and liking and also depending on the availability of ingredients. We love this dal so much that when the first time my sistergave me this recipe, I made it three days in a row!..It is so yummy I make it quite often. The bonus is that this is simple, healthy and nutritous.


  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 tomato  finely chopped
  • 4 green chillies
  • 3 pods crushed /finely chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 1/4 cup mung (green gram)
  • 1/4 cup chana dal (bengal gram)
  • 1/4 cup urad dal ( black gram)
  • 1/4 cup masoor dal (red lentils)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin  seeds
  • a pinch asafetida
  • 1/2 teaspoon kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • coriander/ cilantro for garnish
  • salt to taste

Wash and rinse the dals nicely and soak them in water for about an hour. Soaking is not compulsory but it will enhance the grain, make it less sticky and reduce the cooking time.
Cook the dals along with onion, tomato, green chillies and turmeric powder in a pot. Using a pressure cooker is preferable and I do the same as it fastens the process.
Now, in a wok (kadai), add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and when they start spluttering add the asafetida, followed by crushed/ finely chopped garlic and curry leaves.
Sauté till the garlic turns slight golden brown.
Stir in the cooked dal and add salt and  red chili powder and simmer for 10 minutes.
Crush the kasoori methi between palm of your hands and sprinkle it over the dal.
Finish by garnishing with coriander/ cilantro.
Serve with plain steamed rice.


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