Category Archives: Lentils / Daals

Masur Pullav – Lentil Biryani

One of my friends makes this dish in a very special way with an authentic flair. I have adopted the simple version.  The recipe uses lentils which are full of valuable nutrition like protein, iron, and B Vitamins.  They also help with lowering your risk of heart disease, stabilizing blood sugar and lowering cholesterol.  Detailed Health Benefits follow the recipe.

Preparation Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6-8


1    Cup Lentils
1 & 1/2 Cups Rice
2    Medium Tomatoes, cubed
1    Medium Onion
2    Cloves Garlic, minced
Small Ginger, grated
2    Tsp Coriander & Cumin Powder
 1/4 Tsp Turmeric
Salt to Taste
1    Tsp Chili Powder
Few Saffron Strands
2    TBsp Oil


  1. Wash lentils thoroughly. 
  2. Soak lentils for a couple of hours. 
  3. Soak rice for half an hour.
  4. In a frying pan, heat the oil and sauté onion, garlic and tomatoes. 
  5. Add in the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Add lentils and let them cook for 10 minutes. Do not over cook lentils. Set them aside.
  7. Prepare rice with a little salt.  Set rice aside.
  8. Now in a flat glass pan, layer lentils at the bottom and add layer of cooked rice on top.
  9. Repeat by adding another layer and then another.
  10. I usually top it with saffron. You can add butter, clear butter of ghee but this will add more calories, also. Bake for 20 minutes at about 200º. 


  • To use Saffron in a proper way, I warm it up for 10 seconds in a glass container in the microwave so that the moisture is dried out. Make a powder with a pestle. You can also add a few drops of milk.

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Health Benefits of Lentils

Lentils are low in calories and high in nutrition. Eating them at least once a week is a great way to add the health benefits of these tasty legumes to your diet.

Heart Health
Studies have found that people who eat high fiber legumes like lentils have a much reduced risk of heart disease. The high levels of folate and magnesium in lentils also go a long way in protecting the heart.

Stabilize Blood Sugar
Due to their high fiber content, lentils help in regulating blood sugar by providing steady, slow-burning energy and balancing blood sugar levels.

High in Iron
Lentils are loaded with iron and are a great way to replenish the body’s iron stores, especially for people who don’t eat red meat like vegans and vegetarians.

B Vitamins
Lentils are a great source of B vitamins, most notably folate and niacin (B3). B vitamins are important for the healthy functioning of the nervous, digestive, and immune systems.

Lower Cholesterol
Lentils are a great cholesterol lowering food due to their high levels of fiber.

Protein Packed
Protein makes up 26% of the calories in lentils and they have the third highest level of protein than any other plant food. It’s no wonder that they’re a staple in many parts of the world.

Split Pigeon Peas – Toor Dal

This dal is must all over India. It is the basic staple for both the rich and poor. This is one of the greatest sources of protein in our diet.

Cooking Preparation Time: 30 Minutes
Serves: 4-6


1    Cup Toor Dal (Pigeon Peas)
4    Cups Water 
Ghee or Oil
1/4 Tsp Turmeric
1    Tsp Mustard and Cumin Seeds
Salt to taste
1/4 Tsp Chili Powder
1 Small Piece of Ginger
1    Small Green Chili
2    TBsp Sugar or Jaggry or Gur
1    Tbsp Lemon Juice
1    Small Tomato, cubed
Few Curry Leaves
Few Peanuts

How to Prepare:

  1. Wash dal thoroughly.
  2. Bring to a boil in a pot and when it’s done, use a hand blender to blend it smoothly.
  3. Return to pot and bring to a boil on medium heat, add spices and sugar and lemon juice, ginger chili and cut tomatoes.
  4. Now in a very small pan add oil or ghee of your choice. When it is heated, add cumin and mustard seeds. It will start popping. Add a little astofedia and turmeric.
  5. Add this mixture from the small pan on top of the dal. It is also called chok or vaghar.
  6. Garnish with cilantro.

Tips: Sugar and lemon juice goes together. It is totally up to personal taste. Hope you will like it!

Single Serving Size

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Health Benefits of The Split Pigeon Pea


Pigeon Pea cures cough, poisoning effect, gas troubles, acidity, stomach pain and piles. It makes a balanced human food, quells swelling of internal organs and with water it cures intoxicating effects. It is useful in the treatment of internal organ swelling. Some herbal practitioners/researchers are of the opinion that it diminishes the swelling of internal organs like stomach, liver, intestines etc. In case of wound or cancer of these organs it is helpful in reducing them.

Mung Dal with Spinach

Spinach with Split Mung Dal

This recipe is packed with protein and vitamins. It is quick, easy and tasty. It is eaten with Roti and Rice.

Cooking Preparation Time: 30 Minutes    
Cooking Difficulty Level: Medium
Recipe Type: Vegan & Gluten Free
Serves: 3-4


1    Cup Mung Dal
3    Cups Water
1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1    Tbsp Coriander Cumin Powder
1/2 Tsp Astofedia
1/2 Tsp Turmeric
1    Tbsp Oil
1    Medium Tomato, cut & cubed
1    Small Green Chili
Salt to taste
Lemon Juice
Cilantro to garnish
1    Bunch Spinach, washed & chopped finely
2    Shallots or Fresh Garlic
1    Small Piece of Fresh Ginger or Ginger Powder
1    Small Onion, cut & cubed

How to Prepare:

  1. Wash split mung beans (Dal) thoroughly. Set aside to soak for about an hour. 
  2. Once soaked, add beans to three cups of water in a pan. Bring to a boil on high heat and let it simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
  3. In a separate pan, heat the oil.  Add astofedia, cumin seeds, onion, chopped garlic and spices.
  4. Then add the chopped spinach, salt, ginger, chili, coriander and cumin powder and fry for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add tomato and lemon juice. Mix the boiled Dal with fried spinach mixture in the pan.
  6. Let it simmer for few more minutes. 
  7. Garnish with cilantro and serve it hot.
  8. It works very well as soup or curry with rice. Enjoy!

There are variety of lentils available. The same recipe can be used for different Dals. After you try to cook this a few times, it becomes very easy.

Note: Divide Values by Servings for Individual Quantities.

Dahi Wada – Dal Balls with Yogurt

Dahi Wada
Dahi wada is very famous all over India and is a very popular dish in Northern India. It is also in the chaat family. This is how I make Dahi Wada for my family.  It is made from Urad Dal, also known as Black Split Dal or Split Matep Beans. It is full of protein and is an excellent source of many minerals, calcium and potassium. The high fiber content yields complex carbohydrates which aids digestion and is effective in stabilizing blood sugar.

Preparation Time: 25 Minutes
Cooking Difficulty Level: Medium
Recipe Type: Jain, Gluten Free & Vegan (by omitting yogurt)
Frying Time: 20 Minutes
Assembly Time: 10 Minutes
Serves: 12

Wada Can be eaten with Chutney and Sambhar  without yogurt..

Urad Dal/Split Matepa Beans


1    Cup Urad Dal
2    TBsp Green Chili Paste
2    TBsp Fresh Ginger Paste (omit for Jain recipe)
Salt to taste
Few pieces of cashews and raisins (optional)
6-7 Tbsp Tamarind and Date Chutney
4    Cups Whipped Yogurt
Big Bowl of Cold Water Room Temperature
Salt to Taste
Roasted Cumin Powder
Red Chili Powder
Canola Oil to Deep Fry
Chopped Cilantro

Frying Dal Balls
Soaking in Water

How To Prepare:

  1. Clean Dal so that there are no small stones that are sometimes found with them.
  2. Wash thoroughly.  
  3. Soak for 3-4 hours.
  4. Strain Dal and blend with just the right amount of water, not too much, until it blends smoothly.  
  5. Grind to a little coarse consistency.  
  6. Add green chili, ginger paste, salt, a handful of cashews and raisins.
  7. Mix it well.  
  8. Dough is ready for frying.
  9. To deep fry, heat the oil in  a wok. 
  10. Either with your fingertips or with a tablespoon gently ease the Dal mixture into the heated oil. Care should be taken not to scald yourself. The Dal mixture will puff up in the hot oil.  
  11. Gently turn them over and fry until they are golden brown. 
  12. Take them out of the frying pan and drain on a paper napkin. 
  13. Fry only 4-5 balls at a time so you don’t overcrowd the wok. 
  14. Wada is ready.
  15. Soak the balls or wada in a large bowl of about 3 glasses of room-temperature cold water for about 20 minutes.  
  16. Gently remove the wada from the water and press them between your palms to remove any oil and water. 
  17. Place the dry wada on a platter.
  18. Whip up the fresh low fat Dannon plain yogurt.  Add salt.  If the yogurt is old and sour, add one teaspoon of sugar (optional).
  19. Pour whipped yogurt on wada on the platter.
  20. Pour date and tamarind sauce- sweet chutney on top of yogurt.
  21. Garnish with chili, roasted cumin powder and cilantro. 
  22. I sometimes add black rock salt and black pepper (optional).
  23. Refrigerate it for an hour or two. 
  24. It makes almost 40-45 wada.
  25. ENJOY!!
Garnish of Yogurt, Tamarind Date Sauce & Spices

    Ready Dahi Wada

    Khandvi -Dahiwadi- Chickpea Flour Rolls

    Khandvi Chickpea Flour Rolls

    Khandvi is a famous traditional Gujarati dish. In India, the state of Gujarat is very famous for its delicacies. This is one of the so called delicacies. It requires practice and speed to roll it.  My kids use to call it “carpet” because it is rolled on foil paper or on the flat surface of a thali or dish.  It is made from Channa Dal flour which means chick pea flour which is high in protein and very low in the glycemic index.

    Cooking Difficulty Level: Difficult (Requires Practice)
    Cooking Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
    Cooking Time: 15 Minutes
    Rolling Time: 10 Minutes
    Recipe Type: Vegan if you substitute Yogurt with 1 Tsp Lemon Juice
                         Jain if you omit Ginger

    Khandvi Batter


    1    Cup Chickpea Flour or Besan
    3    Cups Buttermilk
    1 & 1/2 Cups Yogurt
    Mixed With
    1 & 1/2 Cup Water
    1    Tsp Green Chili Paste
    1/4 Tsp Turmeric
    1    Tsp Ginger Paste
    Salt to taste


    3    TBsp Oil
    1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
    1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
    1/2 Tsp Sesame Seeds
    Cut Lengthwise Jalapeno Peppers
    Chopped Cilantro
    Grated Coconut Flakes (optional)


    Spreading a Thin Layer of Batter 

    How to Prepare:

    1. Mix chick pea flour, buttermilk, chili, ginger, salt and turmeric in a heavy sauce pan on medium heat.
    2. Keep stirring constantly so it does not stick to the bottom for fifteen minutes until the flour is cooked.
    3. Mixture will start thickening and you will notice that the spoon will stand up on its own if it is done.
    4. Spread mixture very thinly and quickly on foil so mixture does not get cold.
    5.  Let it cool of for ten minutes.Apply a little oil to your fingers and start rolling into a roll.
    6. Cut desired length and arrange on platter.
    7. Garnish:  Heat the oil in a butter warmer or small pan.  
    8. Add mustard seeds, cumin and sesame seeds.
    9. Allow it to pop.  
    10. Add jalapeno pepper and cilantro and pour on khandvi in a platter.
    Tips:  Note the color of the batter has changed. Jalapeno and cilantro is not shown in picture.  It looks and tastes very good! Chick pea flour is available in all Indian grocery store near you. It is a good idea to sift the flour before making into batter so it will not lump.

    Nutrition Facts are for original recipe.
    Substitutions or Jain or Vegan versions will cause values to change. 

    Gujarati Kadhi – Yogurt Soup


    In India, the state of Gujarat is very famous for its meals. Gujarati people are very fond of different flavors. Their meals contain a variety of dishes that, according to your taste, can be sweet, sour or spicy. They also have tantalizing relishes and refreshing papadum. One of the most famous dishes is a yogurt soup is known as Gujarati Kadhi. It is known for its help in digestion. It is made from buttermilk. The traditional buttermilk is a little sour as it is made from the residual fluid that is left after the butter is churned. It is said that it has the highest amount of prebiotics or healthy bacteria. It replenishes the body with essential nutrients. Buttermilk is regarded as one of the best healing-agent  foods.  Nowadays we don’t make butter at home so we can use plain yogurt with water instead. Plain buttermilk can be drank as source of healthy prebiotics. Kadhi can be made from plain yogurt and water. For refreshing buttermilk you need fresh yogurt.  For Kadhi, old yogurt works better.

    Cooking Difficulty Level: Easy
    Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
    Cooking Time: 10 Minutes


    2    Cups Yogurt
    4    Cups Water
    3    TBsp Chick-Pea Flour or Gram Flour
    2    TBsp Drawn Butter/Ghee/Oil
    1    Tsp Cumin Seeds
    1/2 Tsp Fenugreek Seeds
    1/4 Tsp Astofedia
    3    Small Cinnamon Sticks
    3    Cloves
    1    Tsp Grated Ginger
    Few Pieces Salerno Chili Pepper
    Few Curry Patta
    Salt to taste
    Chopped Fresh Coriander Leaves to Garnish
    1    Tsp Sugar (Optional)

    How To Prepare:

    1. Mix the yogurt, water and flour and blend with hand blender.
    2. Add salt to the mixture and bring it to a boil, stirring continuously on medium heat.
    3. Let it simmer for ten minutes. Add ginger and chili pepper and curry patta.
    4. In a small frying pan heat the ghee or oil. Add cumin, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, cloves and astofedia.
    5. Spices will turn little brown.  Use them and the cilantro to garnish the soup. 

    This soup is very tasty with khichadi.  It is the perfect meal for any night.   Yum!

    Note:  khichadi kadhi – kacumber means “salad and pickle.”

    How To Make Khaman Dhokla

    Khaman Dhokla

     Simple Steps To make Famous Khaman

    View the video: “Preparing Khaman Dhokla”

    As a vegetarian I am often asked about the protein values in my food. I personally believe in protein derived from a plant source.  Channa Dal is also called Bengal Dal.  Today I am going to share a recipe which is very nutritious,  low in fat, low in carbohydrates and high in protein.  It is very low in the Glycemic Index.   It does not raise your blood sugar.  In research, a scientist has found that these beans are excellent for diabetic patients. This recipe requires some practice and may be a little hard to make for new cooks.  This recipe also requires a special steamer with a rack and Thali  or round aluminum pan  approximately 7″ or  8″ so that it fits in the steamer.

    Chana Dal or Bengal Dal

    Cooking Difficulty Level: Difficult
    Cooking Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
    Cooking Time: 45 Minutes
    Recipe Type: Vegan (omit Yogurt & use Lemon Juice) & Jain (omit Ginger) & Gluten Free


    2 Cup Channa Dal
    1/2 Cup Rice
    1 Cup Yogurt
    Touch Astofedia
    1 & 1/2 Tsp Salt
    3 or 4 Cups Water
    1 Tsp Baking Soda or ENO available
              at Indian grocery store
    1 Tsp Fresh Lemon Juic
    1 Tsp Grated Ginger
    1 Tst Fresh Chopped Hot Chillies
    1/4 Cup Oil
    1 Tsp Black Mustard Seeds
    1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
    1 Tsp Sesame Seeds
    4 TBsp Chopped Coriander Leaves
    1 Tsp Sugar

    How to Prepare:

    1. Wash & soak the Dal for 5 hours in warm water.
    2. Drain and grind coarsely.
    3. Add yogurt and little water to make a batter.
    4. Take care not overgrind and do not make it watery.   Grind enough to make the batter pour almost like pancake batter.
    5. Add salt, ginger, astofedia, sugar and mix well. Set aside.
    6. Now bring to a boil approximately 3-4 cups of water in a steamer.  The water level has to be below the rack.
    7. Lightly oil the round pan.
    8. Pour the batter in the pan.
    9. (This is the trick for puffy dhokla:) On top of the pan of batter, add 1/2 Tsp of baking soda.  And then on top of that, add the lemon juice.
    10. Watch for it to bubble. Save the bubbles in the batter.  Mix the batter in a pan in a circular motion.
    11. Place the pan on the rack above the boiling water in the steamer.  Allow it to steam for 15 minutes.
    12. After 15 minutes, open the steamer (care should be taken not to scald yourself) and insert a knife or flat spatula.
    13. If the batter sticks to the knife, leave it to steam five more minutes.
    14. Take the pan out of steamer and let it cool down for five minutes.
    15. In a small pan heat the oil on medium heat.
    16. Add sesame seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chopped jalapeño pepper and chopped cilantro to garnish.
    17. Spread over the pan.
    18. Cut pieces into desired shape.
    19. Transfer to a serving plate with a flat spatula.
    Out of Steamer in a Flat Pan

    Khaman is ready to serve with Sweet  and Spicy chutneys

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    Handvo – Masala Loaf

    In 1976 when I came to America, I always remembered food from back home. One item was spicy Handvo.  There wasn’t a local Indian Grocery Store, so I created this version which has the same taste I crave.  Currently, handvo mix is readily available at Indian grocers.  I have included a Gluten Free Version below.

    Cooking Preparation Time: 15 minutes
    Baking Time: 30 + 5 minutes
    Serves: 4-6

    Ingredients (Not Gluten Free):

    1 & 1/4 Cup Cream of Wheat
    1/4 Cup Gram Flour or Besan
    1/4 Cup Cream of Rice
    1/4 Cup Corn Flour
    4    TBsp Oil
    2    Cups Old or Sour Yogurt
    1    Cup Water
    1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
    Salt to Taste
    1    TBsp Green Chili
    1    TBsp Ginger Paste
    2    TBsp Chopped Cilantro Leaves
    1/2 Cup Peas
    1    Cup Grated Zucchini
    1/2 Cup Frozen Corn
    1    Tsp Turmeric
    1    Tsp Red Chili
    1    Tsp Coriander
    1    Tsp Cumin Powder

    Fried Topping Ingredients: 

    2    Tbsp Oil
    1    Tsp Mustard Seeds
    1    Tsp Sesame Seeds
    1/4 Tsp or Pinch Astofedia

    How to Prepare: 

    1. Mix yogurt and water.
    2. Microwave for 2 minutes or until luke warm.
    3. Mix with rice flour, corn flour and besan.
    4. Leave it overnight in a closed container to ferment.
    5. Add all of the rest of the ingredients.
    6. Mix it well and leave for a hour.
    7. Pour in a 9x 12 inch baking dish (not glass).
    8. Add Fried Topping (instructions below).
    9. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 30 minutes.
    10. Insert butter knife to check if it is done.  If the batter does not stick to knife it is done.

    11. Broil for 5 to 7 minutes to make it crispy and brown.  

    12. Cool for 15 minutes

    13. Cut into equal squares.

    14. Serve with chutneys and sweet and sour mango pickle called ”Chundo.”

    Fried Topping:

    1. In a small frying pan, pour 2 TBsp of oil on medium heat.  
    2. Add mustard seeds and sesame seeds.
    3. Seeds will start popping. 
    4. Sdd astofedia quickly.
    5. Pour on top of batter.

    Gluten Free Recipe

    Ingredients (slightly different):

    1    Cup Rice
    1/2 Cup Udad Dal
    1/4 Cup Split Chickpea Dal – Channa Dal
    1/2 Cup Tuver Dal
    3    Cups Buttermilk
    1    Cup Peas & Frozen Corn
    1    Cup Shredded Snake Gourd or Dhoodi/Loki
    1    Cup Thawed Fengurecreek Leaves
    Salt to Taste
    1    Tsp Baking Soda
    1    Tsp Turmeric
    1    Tsp Red Chili
    1    Tsp Coriander & Cumin Powder
    1    TBsp Green Chili
    1    TBsp Ginger Paste
    In  a coffee mill add the ground rice and all the three dals. Follow all of the steps listed above in the first recipe.  The Gluten Free recipe stays fresh for 4 to 5 days.  It is easy to carry for picnic or traveling.

    Udad Dal – Split Udad Beans

    This dal is high in protein and is a must in Northern India.

    Cooking Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
    Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
    Serves: 4


    1    Cup Udad Dal
    5    Cups Water
    1    TBsp Oil
    1    Tsp Cumin Seeds
    1/4 Tsp Turmeric
    1/2 Tsp Chili Powder
    Salt to taste
    1/2 Tsp Garlic, minced
    1    Tsp Ginger, grated
    Small Green Pepper, chopped (optional

    How to Prepare:

    1. Wash and soak udad dal for at least two hours.
    2. Boil the water and add dal. 
    3. Cover and cook for 15 minutes until tender.
    4. Fry in a pan with oil, cumin seeds, ginger, chili and spices. 
    5. Add the mixture to the dal.
    6. Add salt, lemon juice and let simmer for five minutes.
    7. Dal should be thick in consistency, not watery.  
    8. Garnish with cilantro.
    9. Ready to eat.

    Lentil Soup

    Winter is here and it has started snowing already which reminds me of healthy, hearty and warm lentil soup. Lentils are low on the glycemic index which means they cause the sugar level in the blood to stay the same. Because lentils have a tendency to keep blood sugar levels steady, they are popular among protein lovers. Lentils are full of anti-oxidants, simple carbohydrates and are rich in fiber. Let me know if you like this recipe as it is here or if you would suggest any changes.

    Preparation Time: 35 minutes
    Serves: 3-4
    Recipe Type: Vegan, Gluten Free
    Difficulty Level: Easy


    1    Cup Lentil Beans
    5    Cups Water
    1    Tsp Salt
    2    Tbsp Oil
    1    Tsp Ginger & Green Chili Paste
    2    Tbsp Coriander & Cumin Powder
    1    Tsp Red Chili Powder
    1    Cup Chopped Onion
    1    Can Cut Tomatoes
    Garnish Sour Cream
    Garnish Chives


    1. Soak lentils for 2 hours.
    2. In a pan, cook lentils for a good 20 minutes, maybe more if they were not soaked and they may need more water. Set aside.
    3. Heat the oil in a separate pan on medium heat.  Add onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
    4. Now add ginger, chili, salt and spices. Add the tomatoes also.
    5. Let it simmer for 5 minutes until the water is thickened.
    6. Garnish with cilantro, chives and sour cream on top.


    • This a healthy treat for your family. 
    • It is tasty and everyone loves this soup in my cooking class.
    • It is good with roti, Naan, bread and tastes great with plain rice also.