Panchmel dal is prepared with five lentils and is a great accompaniment for Indian flatbreads.
Theme of the week is dazzling dals. The first recipe I posted yesterday is dal tadka which is prepared with toor dal and the second recipe is panchmel dal.
What is Panchmel Dal?
Dazzling panchmel dal is made with five lentils. Quantity and type of dals/lentils varies from household to household. Cooked lentils are seasoned and, tempered with cumin and asafoetida. Authentic version is a no onion garlic recipe. However, recent versions have adapted onion garlic and tomato as well.
Panchmel dal is a traditional Rajasthani dish. Rajasthan is an arid state with scarce fresh vegetables and hence the cuisine uses less fresh ingredients. I do not know if my version is authentic but the main reason I made it with no onion garlic is to keep it as close to the traditional recipe as possible.
Lentils for Panchmel Dal
This is a 5 lentils dal or 5 lentils Indian stew. Lentils used are toor dal, whole moong, chana dal, urad dal with/without skin, masoor dal and moong dal. Of the six lentils mentioned above, one can pick masoor dal or moong dal as the fifth lentil. Regardless of the types used, the common dals are toor dal, chana dal, whole moong and urad dal. The fifth dal is subjective. I used split moong dal and is a good substitute for masoor dal.
There are many versions and some versions use equal quantities of all five lentils. Today’s recipe has equal parts of toor, chana and moong Dal, and ½ part each of whole moong and urad dal. I intentionally used less urad dal fearing a sticky panchmel dal as urad dal is sticky.
How to make Panchmel Dal
There are multiple ways to cook this dal. The basic step is cooking lentils until soft. This is done either in an Instant Pot, stovetop pressure cooker or directly on stovetop in a saucepan. Once the dal is cooked, it is seasoned and tempered using ghee or combination of ghee and oil.
Panchmel Dal in Instant Pot
I tried two setting in mini Instant Pot to cook this 5 lentils dal.
Beans Setting – In this setting cooking time is 30 minutes and I did natural pressure release (NPR). Lentils were very soft and did not require too much of mashing.
Manual Setting – I did 10 minutes manual and natural pressure release.
Lentils were soft and chana dal was soft but still held it’s shape. I was afraid chana dal was undercooked, however I liked biting on firm chana dal in panchmel dal.
Both these setting work and depending on individual preference, use the settings accordingly. If one wants really soft dal, 12-14 minutes manual is probably the ideal setting in manual mode, though I have not tried it.
Panchmel Dal Recipe
- 1 tbsp Toor Dal
- 1 tbsp Chana Dal
- 1 tbsp Moong Dal
- ½ tbsp Whole Moong
- ½ tbsp Urad Dal
- 1 tsp Oil
- 2-3 tsp Oil or Ghee for vegan use oil or vegan butter
- 3 small Green Chilies cut into 3 pieces each
- ¼ tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 Cloves
- 2 Cardamons
- ⅛ tsp Asafoetida
- ½ tsp Coriander Powder
- ¼ tsp Turmeric
- ¼ - ½ tsp Amchur Powder
- ¾ tsp Salt
- 1 cup Water
- Few drops Lime Juice as required
- Wash dals and cook in instant with ½ - ¾ cup water and ½ tsp of oil.
- Set settings to Manual/Pressure Cook, 10 minutes on high pressure and natural pressure release.
- Open the lid, add salt, water and give a good stir.
- Change IP settings to saute mode and bring dal to boil.
- Meantime, in a frying pan heat ghee+oil for tempering.
- Add cumin, cardamom, cloves and let the seeds sizzle.
- Throw in green chilies and let the chilies change color.
- Next go in the spices and powders.
- Turn off the flame.
Final Touch to Dal
- Immediately pour tempering in boil dal, mix and cover the dal.
- Cancel the saute mode and let the dal sit for few minutes.
- Mind you instant pot plate is still hot and dal will continue to simmer.
- After 3 - 5 minutes, remove dal from the inner pot from IP. Make sure dal has reached the right consistency and if kept too long in IP, dal will thicken as the plate is still hot.
- Add lime juice now or squeeze some just before serving.
- Serve it with some dal or rice.
- This recipe uses equal parts of chana dal, toor dal, moong dal and, ½ part each of whole moong and urad dal.
- For a variation make it with onion, ginger, garlic and tomatoes.
- Use oil or vegan butter for a vegan recipe.
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