I did not know how to make daal before this. So when my brother (who does not currently reside in Pakistan) asked me for a recipe, I passed the call to Mommy and I asked him to document it. But I do know how to make wonderfully cooked rice, also courtesy of my Mommy. It is one of the first things I learned from her. Anyways, here’s a delicious Daal Chawal recipe in words of Chef Eissa! 😀
Daal Chawal is a Pakistani staple combination that can be found in any desi restaurant or household for lunch or dinner. Essentially, the dish is boiled white rice with one or a combination of lentils and is a great, simple idea for a meal especially if you fancy a vegetarian or vegan diet. AND it literally takes a few minutes to cook. Fun fact: the lentil plant is native to the subcontinent.
This recipe can serve two to four people depending on their appetite.
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup Masoor lentils (these are also known as brown lentils)
½ cup split chickpea lentils
6 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp red chili powder
a pinch or two of turmeric
a pinch or two of cumin seeds
Water (for soaking and boiling)
A few hours before you start, put the rice and lentils in separate bowls and cover them with water and let stand for an hour or two.
Let’s start with the daal. Take three times the amount of water as the lentils; so for 1.5 cups of lentils, take 4.5 cups of water in a saucepan. Add 5 whole cloves of garlic, add a teaspoon of salt, three-quarters of a teaspoon of red chili powder, and a pinch or two of turmeric depending on your taste. Add the lentils and on a medium flame, let the mixture cook on its own until it’s thick and gooey.
On the other side, start cooking the rice. Boil twice the amount of water as the rice with one tablespoon of oil and about a teaspoon of salt. Once the water starts to boil, add the rice and let them cook until you see little holes in the cooking rice and there is residual starch at the bottom, the rice is almost done and this will take 5-7 minutes. At this point, turn the flame down to low, cover the rice with a lid and let it sit for a couple of minutes. This is called putting the rice on “dum.” (See how they are long and lovely and not sticking together – this is perfectly cooked Pakistani Chawal)
To finish off, make the “tarka.” Slice up a clove of garlic and in a frying pan heat up some desi ghee or butter. Once the oil is ready, toss in the garlic and some cumin seeds. Once the garlic turns a really nice brown color, pour the mixture on top of the daal, and witness the beautiful sizzle that signals the amalgamation of the two. And voila, you’re done!
Just plate up some rice, cover it with lentils and to make it even better, put some yogurt and mango pickle on the side.
Eissa and I have been through so many cooking disasters over the years that to look at this perfectly cooked meal makes us happy and proud. Thank you for reading! Hope you enjoy this, me buddies!