Panchratan Dal

Panchratan DalYesterday, it took me a total of 1 hr 10 minutes just to step out of the house to go to Trader Joe’s, IN MY PAJAMAS! I know the time precisely because the little monkey usually naps around 11am so I had planned my schedule in a way that I am back home by the time she’s ready to sleep, hence I was constantly keeping an eye on the clock. After just somehow sending the big sister off to her school and daddy for work on time I was positive the day was under my control. All I gotta do is head out and without fail that’s the time when baby decides to poop. For the third time! No biggie, changing diapers are like clockwork by the time second one comes around. I do that and I go to grab my wallet. Of course, it’s not where it belongs so looking under the couch, in the pantry and the shoe closet is a norm. While I’m chucking the clothes out of the laundry basket frantically looking for it I hear a thud. Kitchen floor covered in pecans and the little one happily munching on them. While cleaning it I realize i am still in my jammies and decide I deserve to get into a clean pair of jeans, or clothes devoid of flour, chocolate or sauce stains. Luckily I found one too. But then I thought I heard the little monkey say “yuckyyy”. That is a red flag! I run and find ricotta smeared on the floor AND all over her body. Then bath, clean up, you know the drill.

Lentils1 hr 10 minutes, just to get to the freaking grocery store which by the way is where I realize I did not get a chance to slip into that shiny looking pair of jeans I pulled out of the closet. How do they do that? How do these deceivingly adorable looking, chubby little humans take down their own procreators so easily? I thought I have done this once and this time I got it all in bag. Well that’s what they all made me think. You’ve done this before, second time’s easy. Well, it’s not! It’s equally tiring and exhausting only this time the challenges are different from before. Oh, but let me also add the “politically correct” plugin here, it’s still so darn rewarding and heart warming! But boy being a parent is tough.

LentilsWhile I am still trying to figure this whole motherhood thing out, I’ve got the food part under control. Most of the days. Or so I think! Quick fix dinners, one pot meals, get the 6 yr old working in the kitchen. Some of the skills I am trying to master these days. And some of my favorite recipes lately are dals or lentil soups. You throw everything in the pot or a pressure cooker and let the ingredients do their job while you are busy cleaning the legos off the floor or scrapping soggy cereal stuck to the high chair.

Indian ThaliPanchratan Dal is a new found love. It might not hold the popularity award as dal makhni or tadka dal but it is still one of the oldest preparations of dal in Indian cuisine. Panchratan simply in hindi means five gems which in this recipe stand for the five kinds of lentils we are going to use. Split bengal gram (chana dal), split pigeon peas (toor dal), mung beans, spilt and dehusked brown lentils (masoor dal) and Black gram lentils (Urad). These are simply cooked together with salt and turmeric until done and blend into each other and then a spicy tadka to give it the warmth and armoa its popular for for. Here comes the recipe:

Ingredients: Serve 4-6

1/3 cup chana dal (Split bengal gram)

1/3 cup toor dal (Split pigeon peas)

1/3 cup mung beans (can use split too)

1/3 cup masoor dal (spilt and dehusked brown lentils)

1/3 cup urad (Black gram lentils)

1 teaspoon turmeric


2 tablespoon ghee (or oil)

1 punch asafetida

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 bay leaf

3-4 cloves

1 tablespoon ginger garlic chili paste (preferably made fresh)

1/2 cup red onion (chopped)

3/4-1 cup tomatoes (chopped)

1 tablespoon coriander powder

1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/4 cup chopped cilantro (garnish)


Bring all the lentils together in a large bowl. wash under fresh water. Soak in water for 15-20 minutes. Drain excess water. Transfer to a pot or pressure cooker. Add water 3-4 times the quantity of lentils together. In this case approx. 6-7 cups. Cook until the lentils are cook through and blend together. Approx. 30 minutes.

For the masala, heat ghee/oil in a thick bottom pan. Add cumin, bay leaf, cloves and asefetida. As they sputter add onion. Sautee for over medium high heat until the onion begins to turn golden brown, 8-10 minutes.

Add ginger garlic and chili paste. Stir to mix well. Add one table spoon water. Mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add tomato. Turn the heat to medium. Mix well. Let the tomatoes slowly cook and melt to mix with the rest of the ingredients. Cook for 8-10 minutes stirring every couple minutes.

Once the ingredients begin to come together as a loose paste, add coriander powder and garam masala. Mix well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the cooked lentils. Bring everything to a simmer for the spices and lentils to marry well together, for 3-5 minutes.

Turn off the heat. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with a side of rice, roti or salad.

Thanks to Mastro Co. for their gorgeous ceramic pot that makes my humble dal look beautiful! Check out their line. You will be stunned.


  1. Hang in there, mommy! You had me at the politically correct bit, it seems everyone needs to be a tad over-cautious not to step on someone’s toes, right?
    The thali looks scrumptious!!

  2. Girl, I hear you. I just avoid the store all together today. There’s a giant pile of things that require leaving the house sitting by our door and I’m avoiding it because surely she’ll poop just when it’s time to leave!

    I love all the pretty lentils in this dish!

    • My garage is filled with suck boxes and bags Sarah! Somedays I muster the courage and decide to step out and this is what happens, other days I am just too lazy 🙂

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