Panchmel Dal (Mixture Of 5 Lentils)

How tastes change! I always liked the plain dals prepared in North India, but only with Indian flat breads. The thought of mixing a dal with rice was abhorrent to me. Not any more. I can now happily have dal-chawal (dal/rice). I have therefore been experimenting with different dals from the northern parts of India. Each one is different and tastes outstanding. Hari, before he joined me, was working in a Rajasthani household for 13 years. He is therefore very conversant with this Panchmel dal – and makes it particularly well. I really enjoyed both my meals (lunch with rice and dinner with phulkas). I am sure that most of my friends on this blog are familiar with this recipe – but am posting it with the intention of making my blog ‘complete’. Do enjoy it!

The Lentils
1 cup of 5 different lentils, in equal proportions
Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
Green gram (sabut moong, payatham parupu)
Pink lentil (masoor dal, Mysore parupu)
Pigeon peas (tur dal, thuvaram parupu)
Split black lentil (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
Other Ingredients
3-4 cups water to cook the lentils
2 green cardamoms (elaichi, elakkai), lightly crushed to split the skin open
2 cloves (laung, kirambu)
1 green chili (crushed)
3 dried red chilis, each broken into 2 pieces
1/2″ piece of ginger, crushed
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
A pinch of turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1/2 tsp garam masala
A pinch of asafoetid (hing, perunkayam)
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, to garnish
Salt to taste

Rinse the lentils thoroughly and soak them for an hour
After an hour, drain the lentils and transfer to a pressure cooker
Add enough water to cook the lentils (3-4 cups)
Cook till the lentils are well done, about 4-5 whistles
Let the steam release naturally and open the lid
Mash the lentils lightly
Set aside
Heat a wok on low flame and add cumin seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the cardamoms, cloves and red chilis
Roast till the aroma of the spices emanate (make sure not to burn the chilis)
Add ginger and green chili
Continue to roast till the raw smell of the ginger evaporates
Add the tomatoes, garam masala, turmeric powder and asafoetida
Continue to roast till the tomatoes become mushy
Add this seasoning to the cooked lentils
At this stage, add a little water if the lentils look too thick
Mix well
Transfer the lentils back to the stove
Simmer for 8-10 minutes so that all the ingredients are well mixed
Add salt and mix well
Remove from flame and garnish with coriander leaves
Serve at room temperature with steamed red/brown rice or Indian breads

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