Mike Wolfberg's Recipe for Pancha Dal - Five Dals
This is one of a dozen recipes developed by Mike for a Concord/Carlisle
Massachusetts Newcomers Gourmet Group dinner which
took place on 1-Mar-75.
time: 45 during 60 minutes)
- 9 c. water
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. toor dal (oil-coated, as a preservative)
- 1/2 c. chana dal
- 1/2 c. mung dal
- 1/2 c. urad dals
- 1/2 c. masoor dal
- 1 large dried red hot chili pepper
- about 1/2 oz. fresh ginger root
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander seeds
- 2 TBL. mustard or other oil
- 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
- 1 fresh lemon
- a few sprigs of fresh cilantro (coriander leaves)
- In a large 4- to 6-quart covered pot bring the water to
a boil. Meanwhile, thorough wash and clean (throwing out any foreign
particles) just the toor dals in a strainer, running very
hot water through it and also dipping it into a bowl of very hot water.
(The washing of the other dals should be done in cold water in later
- When the water boils, add the salt and then the toor
dals and stir once. Reduce the heat to medium and cook covered for
10 minutes. (This is the first cooking period.) The water should boil, but
not overflow the pot; adjust the heat accordingly.
- Thorough wash and clean the chana dal (in cold
water), and when the 10 minutes are up, add it to the pot and stir once.
Cook the two dals in the covered pot for another 10 minutes. (This is the
second cooking period.)
- Thorough wash and clean the mung dal. After the second
cooking period, add it to the pot and stir once. Cook the three dals in
the covered pot for another 10 minutes. (This is the third cooking
- Thoroughly wash and clean the urad
and masoor dals. After the third cooking period,
add them to the pot and stir once. Cook the five dals in the covered pot
for 15 minutes. (This is the fourth cooking period.) Meanwhile, go
on to steps 6 and 7.
- Handle the chilies with care - see the note Handling Chilies. Split the dried red hot
chili pod and discard the seeds. Very finely chop the pod and set
it aside for used in step 10.
- Scrape or slice away the brown skin of the ginger root
and discard. Finely chop the ginger to yield 1 tsp.
- After the fourth cooking period, uncover the pot and
stir in the chopped ginger, turmeric, ground cumin, and ground coriander
seeds. Cook for another 2 minutes uncovered. Remove the pot from
the heat (The appearance is that of thick split pea soup.)
- For the next step you may use a second pot (at least
3-quart); if you don't have one handy, empty the dal into a large bowl and
then clean and dry the pot.
- In the second pot (with a cover) place the mustard oil
over low heat. Stir in the chopped dried chili pepper and the black
mustard seeds. Cover the pot and shake it occasionally; as the oil heats
up, the seeds will pop and spatter. When they have stopped spattering,
remove the pan from the heat. STEP BACK TO AVOID BREATHING THE HOT
FUMES, remove the cover, and slowly pour the cooked dals from the
first pot (or bowl) into the second pot; it may make a loud noise when
added. Thoroughly stir, cover, and set aside. There is no need to
refrigerate the dish when it is being served the same day.
- Wash and pat dry the fresh cilantro. Cut away bad
parts. Wrap it paper toweling, put it in a plastic bag, and refrigerate.
to the hosthome: the dals in the covered pot, lemon, and cilantro.
At the hosthome:
- Reheat the dal uncovered over low heat for about 15
minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, continue making further
- Juice the lemon to yield just 3 TBL. of juice, and set
it aside for use in step D.
- Retain a small sprig of cilantro for decoration. Cut
away the stems of the other cilantro sprigs, retaining just the leaves.
Finely chop the leaves to yield about 2 tsp.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the chopped cilantro into
the dal. Stir in the lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Place the dal in a
warmed serving bowl or soup tureen. Artistically position the decoration
sprig of cilantro, and serve.