Gujarati Wedding Dal, also called Gujarati Lagan Dal is an aromatic preparation of split pigeon peas, peanuts and whole spices. The sour, spicy and slightly sweet flavour of this flowing dal is exactly like the Gujarati Dal we eat as part of a wedding thali.
Serve with rice for a truly Gujarati dal-bhaat experience. Delicious!My recipe for Gujarati Dal is so easy and flavoursome. It’s a classic Indian comfort food recipe I make at least once every fortnight.
How to serve this Dal
While Gujarati Dal at weddings is usually a more filling affair, at home, it can be much more casual. I like to eat it as it is, with boiled rice and a dollop of plain set yoghurt. There’s something so satisfying about the hot and sour dal against the cold yoghurt. A touch of jaggery in the dal offsets the flavours so beautifully.
If you’d like to make a meal of it, try serving your dal with the following to create a Gujarati thali at home:
Key ingredients in Gujarati Dal
Oily toor dal (also called split pigeon peas, arhar or tuver), water, ginger, chilli, tomatoes, turmeric, kokum, salt, jaggery, coriander, ghee, cinnamon, curry leaves, star anise, cloves, asafoetida, dried chilli, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, peanuts, cashews.My favourite part are the simmered peanuts and cashews which become extremely tender and melt in your mouth.
What style of Dal should I choose?
For this type of dal, it’s best to use the oily style of split pigeon peas (toor/tuver/arhar). They are dried and coated in a slick of oil to preserve them for months, even years.This makes toor the ultimate pantry ingredient to have on standby when the contents of your fridge is looking sparse.
Tip: Always wash your dal!
Always wash dal to rinse away oil. As a child my mother would keep me occupied by placing a bowl of toor dal in warm water in front of me so I could swish and swoosh the oil away. It was the ultimate sensory activity for a bored little monkey like me, and something I still find utterly cathartic today.
How to make Gujarati Dal in a pressure cooker
To make light work of boiling dal, this recipe calls for a pressure cooker. I use a traditional pressure cooker with a whistle attachment. You can also use an Instant Pot or equivalent pressure pot.Place the dal in a pressure cooker along with 1L of water.
Close the pressure cooker (whistle on) and cook for 7 whistles. If you’re using an Instant Pot or similar pressure pot, cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Carefully release the steam. The dal should be really mushy, almost liquid.
How to make Gujarati Dal without a pressure cooker
Fear not! You can still have your dal. Simply boil the dal in a large pan, covered with a tight-fitting lid for 30-35 minutes or until mushy. Add a teaspoon of oil to the pot to reduce the amount of foam that builds up inside the pot. Do not leave boiling dal unattended as it can overflow.
Gujarati Dal without onion and garlic
Since this is a wedding-style of Gujarati Dal, this recipe does not include onion or garlic. For various religious reasons, many people refrain from eating these two ingredients. Therefore the dal served at celebrations is almost always free from onion and garlic.
Types of Gujarati Dal
Dal simply refers to ‘pulses’. There are dozens of varieties of Gujarati Dal and each home will have a unique method of preparation for these variants. Eat these with rice, rotli, paratha or Let’s explore some of the most popular ones.
Not only is Dal Dhokli a one-pot wonder, it’s also packed with mouth-puckering hot, sweet and sour flavours, protein and comforting carbs. The spicing is gentle and aromatic with star anise, cinnamon, cloves and ajwain-flecked dhokli (a cross between a dumpling and pasta).
Gujarati Mug is a simple dish of whole green mug (moong/mung beans). There are so many ways to prepare this protein-packed pulse. The Gujarati way uses just a handful of spices, ginger, chilli and sometimes tomatoes. I like to add lots of garlic! Perfect with a bowl of plain rice or black pepper paratha.
Mug ni Dal
This variety of dal is similar to the above, except it calls for split, skinless mug (moong/mung beans). The final result is creamier than the dish with whole mug and the appearance is more yellow in colour, since the green skins are removed.
Thick and creamy black lentils (of Dal Makhani fame) with simple spices. A traditional dish for Saturdays. Saturday represents the day of Lord Hanuman. Belief has it that he gathers his otherworldly strength from eating such lentils. Urad is packed with vitamins, protein and iron, so move over Popeye- Hanuman’s in town and he brings with him the strength of a thousand elephants and karahi’s full of Urad!
A combination of three types of lentils. Usually toor (arhar dal), chana dal and moong dal but the recipe can vary from cook to cook. I like to add split, skinless urad dal. Trevti Dal is creamy and thick, with a tempering of both whole spices and ground spices.
I have mixed feelings about including Kadhi in this list, simply because it’s not technically a type of dal. However, most recipes call for besan (gram flour) which is a chickpea-based product, so I’ll let it slide!Yoghurt-laden Kadhi is almost always served in the same way as dal (with rice or as part of a thali). At most Gujarati weddings, the hosts will serve either Gujarati Toor Dal or Kadhi, not both.
Gujarati Wedding Dal recipe
- Pressure cooker
For the dal:
- 200 g oily toor dal also called split pigeon peas, arhar or tuver
- 1.5 L hot water
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 2-3 green chillies finely chopped
- 200 g chopped tomatoes I use tinned
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 piece kokum or juice of two large lemons
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp jaggery or brown sugar
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander
To temper the dal:
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 2- inch cinnamon stick
- 5-6 curry leaves
- ¼ tsp asafoetida hing
- 1 star anise
- 2 cloves
- 1 dried red chilli
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 10 peanuts whole
- 10 cashew nuts
To cook the dal:
- Wash the dal in plenty of water. Drain and repeat twice more.
- Place the dal in a pressure cooker along with 1L of water. Close the pressure cooker (whistle on) and cook for 7 whistles. If you’re using an Instant Pot or similar pressure pot, cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Carefully release the steam. The dal should be really mushy, almost liquid.
- Sieve the dal into a large bowl to ensure it’s of a flowing consistency. Set aside.
To temper the dal:
- Heat the ghee in a large, heavy-based pan. Add mustard seeds and allow them to crackle. Next, add the cumin seeds, cinnamon, star anise, dried red chilli, cloves, kokum, curry leaves, asafoetida, peanuts and cashews. Sauté over a low heat for 1-2 minutes, just until the cashews begin to brown slightly.
- Add the ginger and fresh chillies. Cook this for a further 30 seconds and then tip in the tomatoes. Add ground turmeric and jaggery. Stir well and allow the masala to come to a gently simmer. Stir all the time to help the jaggery melt in.
- Carefully pour in the dal mixture. Stir well. Add a further 500ml water and season with salt. Bring to the boil. Boil gently for 20 minutes. Stir frequently to ensure the dal doesn’t settle at the base of the pan. If you feel the dal is too thick, you can always thin it out with more water. The boiling extracts more flavours from the spices, resulting in a tastier dal.
- Garnish with fresh coriander. Serve hot with rice. For wedding vibes, I love this with a side of stuffed aubergine curry, farfar and poori.
- Dal will thicken on cooling. If making ahead, you may need to add additional water before serving.
- As dal boils, it will develop a skin on top. This is normal. Stir often to minimise.