Dhabe Wali Dal is a dal which is typically served at almost all dhabas. It is a very popular lentil dish which is generally served with Tandoori Roti or Naan. The word 'Dhaba' means roadside small food outlets. If there is one thing that I miss dearly after moving to South, it is the frequent visits to these dhabas on Highways. In one word it's divine !
Back in old days my Grandma used to cook on chulha (open hearth clay oven) where the family bakes flatbreads and on top places kadais (pans) to cook. Similarly I prepare this dal which tastes exactly the same as you get on road side Dhabas (Charcoal infused aroma Dal). Hope all of you like my Dhabe Wali Dal and feel the authentic earthly feel that I tried to provide to all of you all the way from Northern India.
1/4 cup Masoor Dal
1/4 cup Arhar Dal
1/4 cup Chana Dal
1/4 cup Chilke Wali Moong Dal
2 Onions, chopped
1 tbs chopped Ginger
2 Tomatoes, ground to paste
5-6 Garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Red chilly powder
2 Green chilies, chopped
1 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp Asafetida (hing)
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Whole Coriander seeds
2 Whole Red chillies
1 tbsp Dried Fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
Salt to taste
Ghee 1 tbsp +3 tbsp Oil
Charcoal big piece
Wash and soak the lentil for 1/2 an hour. Drain the water and pressure cook it with 2 1/2 cups of water +1 tsp salt first whistle on high flame.
After that keep on sim (lowest flame) till you hear 2 more whistles. Turn off the flame and let it cool down. In between you start preparing for the tadka.
Now heat a pan with 3 tbsp oil and add cumin seeds, whole coriander seeds and once they splutter add ginger, garlic and green chilies. Do not let it burn, immediately add chopped onions.Saute till the onions turn pink and add tomato paste and fry till it leaves oil.
Add a little salt, chili powder, coriander powder and cook for a minute. Add the cooked lentils from the pressure cooker and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle some kasoori methi and check the seasoning and allow it to cook for another 5-6 minutes.
Now for the smoking step, heat charcoal until red hot over the gas burner (yes, you read it right ! direct flame). Place a small bowl in the center of the pan full of dal, pour 1 tbsp ghee and hing. The coal now give out smokey flavour, immediately cover it with a lid. Keep it covered for 5-10 minutes. When done, remove the lid and carefully remove the small bowl that contains charcoal. Serve this smokey dal with roti / Naan /Kulcha.
- When you release the pressure, do check if the dal is cooked at the right consistency. The dal should be soft but not gooey.
- You can add chopped tomatoes instead of tomato paste.
- You can add or replace lentils of your choice.