//Gujarati Dal Recipe

Gujarati Dal Recipe

Gujarati dal in a black rimmed ceramic bowl on a black background
Gujarati dal

Gujarati dal recipe is a unique tasting dal (lentil dish) that has two contrasting flavors in a single dish – sweet and sour. A bit of sweet and some sourness in any dish tastes too good and so does in this Gujarati dal. It is a vegan, satvik recipe and made without onion and garlic.

Gujarati dal in a black rimmed ceramic bowl on a black backgroundGujarati dal in a black rimmed ceramic bowl on a black background

Why This Recipe Works

Dal or lentils is one of the food we make regularly and is a staple. I often make various lentil recipes from the Indian cuisine with pigeon pea lentils, mung lentils, pink lentils and many more.

Gujarati dal recipe is made with pigeon pea lentils, also known as tur dal or arhar dal in Hindi. These are yellow colored lentils that have are halved with their husks removed. You will find them in any Indian grocery store or online.

This dal is one of those lentil recipes that I make many times as we simply love it. Give us a bowl of piping hot dal with some steamed rice and we don’t need anything else 🙂

Like most Indian dal recipes, this Gujarati dal is also easy to make. The consistency of this dal is thin with a mild sweet-sour taste.

The sweetness comes from jaggery (Indian unrefined cane sugar) and the sourness comes from kokum (garcinia indica).

Note that kokum may be difficult to procure, so you could opt to get that sour taste from lemon juice or tamarind pulp. Both the sweetness and sourness can be adjusted according to your liking.

Some variations of gujarati dal feature peanuts. My recipe does have peanuts but you can add a handful of them if you like. On occasions I add peanuts when I have a stock of them.

With or without peanuts, the dal always tastes good. If you love the flavor combinations of sweet and sour in lentils, you can check more of these Gujarati dal recipes.

  1. Khatti Meethi Dal
  2. Trevti Dal
  3. Surati Dal

How to make Gujarati dal

Cook Lentils

1. Take ¾ cup arhar dal (tuvar dal or pigeon pea lentils). First pick the arhar dal for stones etc. Then rinse the lentils thoroughly in running water for 4 to 5 times.

To get the best taste in your Gujarati dal, I recommend to make it with unpolished tur dal.

rinse arhar dalrinse arhar dal

2. Add the rinsed dal in a 3-litre pressure cooker. You can choose to cook the lentils in an Instant Pot or in a pan if you do not have a stove-top pressure cooker.

add dal in pressure cookeradd dal in pressure cooker

3. Add 2 to 2.5 cups water.

add water to daladd water to dal

4. Pressure cook for 7 to 8 minutes on a medium to high heat.

pressure cooking the dalpressure cooking the dal

Mash Lentils

5. The lentils have to be cooked completely and mushy. Note that the timing of cooking lentils will vary with their quality and age.

If the lentils have not softened, add about ⅓ to ½ cup water and pressure cook again for 3 to 4 minutes or more until the lentils have softened completely.

cooked dalcooked dal

6. Mash the dal very well with a wired whisk or with a spoon.

mashing the dalmashing the dal

7. The lentils should be mashed thoroughly.

mashed dal for Gujarati dalmashed dal for Gujarati dal

Flavor with Seasonings, Spices

8. Add the following listed ingredients to the mashed lentils.

  • 1 teaspoon green chili-ginger paste (made by crushing 1 green chilli and ½ inch ginger in a mortar-pestle)
  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1.5 to 2 tablespoons jaggery or sugar (can sub palm sugar or coconut sugar)
  • salt as required
  • 3 to 4 dried kokums (swap kokum with 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice or 1 teaspoon unsweetened tamarind sauce/pulp or as needed. Note for lemon juice add it after you add the tempering ingredients to the dal.)
  • 1 small sized chopped tomatoes (optional)
add spices to cooked lentilsadd spices to cooked lentils

9. Combine and mix thoroughly.

stir the dalstir the dal

Simmer Dal

10. Add 1.5 to 2 cups water to get a medium or medium-thin consistency.

add water to lentilsadd water to lentils

11. Mix again and place the pressure cooker back on the stovetop.

simmering lentilssimmering lentils

12. Bring the lentils to a simmer on a low heat for 7 to 8 minutes.

simmering Gujarati dalsimmering Gujarati dal

Tempering

13. For the tempering, heat 2 tablespoons oil (or ghee if you prefer) in a small frying pan or skillet. Lower the heat. Crackle ½ teaspoon mustard seeds first and then add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds.

making temperingmaking tempering

14. Make sure to add these spices, herbs after the cumin seeds crackle. Stir and fry for some seconds on a low heat until the red chilies change color, but do not burn them.

  • 2 to 3 small dry red chilies (if you prefer break the chillies and remove the seeds prior to frying
  • 3 to 4 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves (or swap curry leaves with 1 tej patta)
  • a generous pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds.
spices and herbs frying in oilspices and herbs frying in oil

15. Carefully pour this entire tempering mixture together with the oil on the simmering dal.

add tempering to lentilsadd tempering to lentils

16. Switch off the heat.

tempering mixture floating on top of the dal tempering mixture floating on top of the dal

17. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of coriander leaves.

coriander leaves on Gujarati dalcoriander leaves on Gujarati dal

18. Mix well.

coriander leaves mixed with dalcoriander leaves mixed with dal

19. Serve Gujarati dal piping hot.

Gujarati dal in a black rimmed bowl on a white and yellow linenGujarati dal in a black rimmed bowl on a white and yellow linen

Serving Suggestions

Gujarati dal is best served with hot steamed rice. Drizzle a bit of ghee on the dal if you like. Have a complete meal by pairing the dal and rice with a side of any Indian vegetable dish or salad or raita or a plain yogurt.

You can relish the dal with some soft roti or crispy paratha or even bread or dinner rolls (pav).

Storage

It is best to eat Gujarati dal when freshly cooked. Lentils always taste best when served hot and as soon as they are cooked. If you have leftovers, then store in the refrigerator and try to consume the same day or at the most next day.

Dal when refrigerated, will thicken with a change in flavor and taste. Refrigerated dal does not taste as better or good than freshly cooked dal. Moreover I suggest that for health reasons, it is best to eat dal the day it is made.

Expert Tips

Cooking Lentils

As you see I have cooked the lentils in a stove-top pressure cooker, but below I share cooking them in a pan on the stove-top and in the Instant Pot

1. Cooking Lentils in a pan

For cooking the lentils in a pan or pot on the stove-top, soak them for an hour. Take the lentils and about 2.5 to 3 cups water in a pan. Cover and cook on medium-low to medium heat.

If the water starts frothing and bubbling likely to spill over, remove the lid or cover it partly and simmer. It may take 30 to 45 minutes for the lentils to cook depending on their quality and age.

2. Pressure cooking lentils in Instant Pot

Add the lentils and 2 cups water in the inner steel insert of your Instant pot. Pressure cook for 10 to 12 minutes on high pressure until the lentils have softened.

You can also cook rice when pressure cooking lentils by placing a pan/pot of rice and water on a trivet placed inside the steel insert.

After you hear the beep sound, when the cooking is complete, wait for 10 minutes and then give a quick pressure release.

Mash the lentils and then later add the tempering ingredients to the dal. If the consistency looks thin, use the ‘sauté’ function and simmer the dal for some minutes until you get the desired consistency.

More Helpful Tips

  • Lentils: Though traditionally gujarati dal is made with tur dala (pigeon pea lentils), feel free to use mung lentils (moong dal) or pink lentils (masoor dal). Equal proportions of different lentils also work well in this recipe. I recommend to use unpolished tur dal for optimum taste, flavor and for health reasons.
  • Gluten-free option: Asafoetida gives some onion and garlic flavor to the dal. If you do not use asafoetida, the flavor will be different. If you have gluten allergy, I suggest to omit the asafoetida, and include ¼ to ⅓ cup chopped onions and ½ to 1 teaspoon chopped garlic in the lentils when cooking them. Or use a gluten free asafetida.
  • Scaling: You can easily scale this recipe to make a small or a big batch of dal.

More Indian Dal Recipes To Try!

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Gujarati dal recipe is a unique tasting dal (lentil dish) that has two contrasting flavors in a single dish – sweet and sour. A bit of sweet and some sourness in any dish tastes too good and so does in this Gujarati dal. It is a vegan, satvik recipe and made without onion and garlic.

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 20 mins

Total Time 40 mins



Servings 4 to 5

Prevent your screen from going dark while making the recipe

Pressure cooking lentils

  • First pick the arhar dal or pigeon pea lentils for stones etc. 

  • Then rinse the lentils thoroughly in running water for 4-5 times.

  • Add the rinsed dal in a pressure cooker. Add water. Pressure cook for 7 to 8 minutes on a medium to high flame.

  • The lentils have to be cooked completely. 

  • Mash the dal very well with a wired whisk or with a spoon. The lentils should be mashed very well.

Making gujarati dal

  • Add green chili-ginger paste, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander-cumin powder, jaggery, salt, tomato(optional) and kokums. Stir.

  • Add water. Stir again and keep the dal back on the stove top.

  • Bring the dal to a simmer on a low flame for 7 to 8 minutes.

For tempering

  • Heat oil or ghee in a small pan. Crackle mustard seeds first and then add cumin.

  • Add the dry red chilies, cloves, cinnamon, curry leaves, asafoetida and fenugreek seeds. 

  • Stir and fry for some seconds till the red chilies change color.

  • Pour this tempering on the simmering dal. Switch off the flame.

  • Add coriander leaves. Finally stir the dal.

  • Serve gujarati dal with steamed rice.

Serving Suggestions

  • Gujarati dal is best served with hot steamed rice. Drizzle a bit of ghee on the dal if you like. Have a complete meal by pairing the dal and rice with a side of any Indian vegetable dish or salad or raita or a plain yogurt.

  • You can relish the dal with some soft roti or crispy paratha or even bread or dinner rolls (pav).

Storage

  • It is best to eat Gujarati dal when freshly cooked. Lentils always taste best when served hot and as soon as they are cooked. If you have leftovers, then store in the refrigerator and try to consume the same day or at the most next day.

  • Dal when refrigerated, will thicken with a change in flavor and taste. Refrigerated dal does not taste as better or good than freshly cooked dal. Moreover I suggest that for health reasons, it is best to eat dal the day it is made.

  • Lentils: Though traditionally Gujarati dal is made with tur dala (pigeon pea lentils), feel free to use mung lentils (moong dal) or pink lentils (masoor dal). Equal proportions of different lentils also work well in this recipe. I recommend to use unpolished tur dal for optimum taste, flavor and for health reasons.
  • Gluten-free option: Asafoetida gives some onion and garlic flavor to the dal. If you do not use asafoetida, the flavor will be different. If you have gluten allergy, I suggest to omit the asafoetida, and include ¼ to ⅓ cup chopped onions and ½ to 1 teaspoon chopped garlic in the lentils when cooking them. Or use a gluten free asafetida.
  • Cooking Lentils in a pan: For cooking the lentils in a pan or pot on the stove-top, soak them for an hour. Take the lentils and about 2.5 to 3 cups water in a pan. Cover and cook on medium-low to medium heat. If the water starts frothing and bubbling likely to spill over, remove the lid or cover it partly and simmer. It may take 30 to 45 minutes for the lentils to cook depending on their quality and age.
  • Pressure cooking lentils in Instant Pot: Add the lentils and 2 cups water in the inner steel insert of your Instant pot. Pressure cook for 10 to 12 minutes on high pressure until the lentils have softened. You can also cook rice when pressure cooking lentils by placing a pan/pot of rice and water on a trivet placed inside the steel insert. After you hear the beep sound, when the cooking is complete, wait for 10 minutes and then give a quick pressure release. Mash the lentils and then later add the tempering ingredients to the dal. If the consistency looks thin, use the ‘sauté’ function and simmer the dal for some minutes until you get the desired consistency.
  • Scaling: You can easily scale this recipe to make a small or a big batch of dal.

Nutrition Facts

Gujarati Dal Recipe

Amount Per Serving

Calories 233 Calories from Fat 72

% Daily Value*

Fat 8g12%

Saturated Fat 4g25%

Polyunsaturated Fat 1g

Monounsaturated Fat 2g

Cholesterol 17mg6%

Sodium 337mg15%

Potassium 130mg4%

Carbohydrates 37g12%

Fiber 9g38%

Sugar 14g16%

Protein 7g14%

Vitamin A 529IU11%

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 23mg115%

Vitamin B6 1mg50%

Vitamin C 50mg61%

Vitamin E 1mg7%

Vitamin K 4µg4%

Calcium 56mg6%

Vitamin B9 (Folate) 241µg60%

Iron 2mg11%

Magnesium 14mg4%

Phosphorus 19mg2%

Zinc 1mg7%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This gujarati dal recipe from the blog archives (November 2014) has been republished and updated on 29 April 2021.