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Pakistani Yellow Dal

Pakistani Dal

If you're new to Indian cooking, dal is a good place to start. This recipe for Pakistani lentils comes courtesy of Sachin Chopra, consulting chef at Arka and chef-owner at All Spice. Note: For this recipe, you'll need a piece of cheesecloth, cut into a 6-inch wide square.

Pakistani Dal


2 cups masoor dal (red lentils), rinsed 3 times
1/2 teaspoon plus another 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, divided
4 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 black cardamom seeds
5 green cardamom pods
1/4 cup clarified butter
2 dried red chiles
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
1” cube ginger, finely chopped
2 green chilies, chopped
10 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/8 tsp garam masala
1/8 teaspoon deghi mirch
1 teaspoon chaat masala
1/8 teaspoon asefetida (hing)
1 tomato, chopped
Lemon juice


  1. Boil the dal with a half the turmeric and a cheesecloth sachet of cloves, cinnamon, black and green cardamom, until soft.
  2. Skim the foam and discard it, reserving the dal and cooking liquid. In a separate large pot, melt the butter and toast the red chiles, cumin and mustard seeds until they pop.
  3. Add the onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies and cook about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the garam masala, deghi mirch, chaat masala, and hing and cook on a low fire for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped tomato and a little water, and cook the mixture until the oil rises to the top.
  6. Mix in the dal, and boil until the flavors marry. Adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon juice.
  7. Serve hot, topped with chopped cilantro.
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