A mixture of dal (lentils) cooked till smooth and buttery, with the typical flavors of chilies, garlic, butter, and dried fenugreek leaves is dhaba dal. Dhaba is basically an eatery on the roadside or on the highways. However these days you can see many sophisticated versions of dhabas too. Many restaurants are based on the dhaba theme. Dhabas are very common in India. The thing about the dhaba food is that it has peculiar and sharp flavors. Dhaba style dal is one of the most commonly ordered foods at the dhabas. We love to order some aloo parathas with it, however, at home it can also be served with tawa chapati, paratha or tandoori roti with some lachcha pyaaz on the side.
Dals: Generally arhar dal is used to make dhaba dal. However, I could never relate to it. Whenever I have had dal at dhaba, I always saw more than one dal. I love to use chana dal, urad dal (with skin, split) and moong dal in the ration of 4:2:1, chana dal, urad dal, and moong dal respectively. The dals should be soaked for at least 30 minutes. As well as it is important to cook let the dals simmer for a good 30-40 minutes. It makes it smooth and buttery.
Onion, tomato, garlic, and chilies: The very basic tadka/ tempering of onions and tomatoes have been used. However, if you must have noticed, dhaba dal always has a few chunks of tomatoes. Therefore, one of the tomatoes has been cooked till absolutely mushy and half of tomato has been added towards the end and has been left chunky. Garlic gives the typical flavor to dhaba style dal. Lemon juice is a must to give a tangy touch to the dhaba dal. Further garnish the dhaba dal with chopped coriander leaves.
Spices: Salt and turmeric powder are added while pressure cooking dal. Other than these, red chili powder, whole red chilies, and dry fenugreek leaves are used.
Well, I have to admit this. I never got it right. It was only after a number of attempts I could nail it. And yes now I can say this is exactly the kind of dhaba dal we get at our favorite dhaba. To make the perfect dhaba style dal you need to take care of the following points:
You might also like Dal Bukhara, scrumptious Dal Makhani, the very basic Arhar ki Dal, Rajasthani Panchmel Dal, etc. Of all these dals, I would love to recommend Dal Bukhara recipe. Its consistency is something to fall for. It is very easy to prepare Dal Bukhara.
Serve dhaba style dal with aloo parathas, and lachcha pyaaz for a weekend dinner.
1.This recipe serves 3-4 persons.
2.In a pressure cooker add 4 tbsp of chana dal, 2 tbsp of urad dal and 1 tbsp of moong dal along with 2 cups of water, salt to taste and ¼ tsp turmeric powder.
3.Pressure-cook the dal on high flame till the first whistle; thereafter cook it on a low flame for 12-15 minutes. Let the pressure release. Open the cooker. The dal should be perfectly cooked, though runny.
4.Heat 1 tbsp of oil.
5.Add 1 chopped onion.
6.Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium flame. Do not brown the onions.
7.Next add in 1 finely chopped tomato. Also sprinkle little salt on it.
8.Cook well till the tomatoes are mushy.
9.Add in 1 tbsp of dried fenugreek leaves. Cook for 30 seconds.
10.Add in 1 chopped green chili.
11.Add 1 tsp of red chili powder. Cook for 1 minute.
12.Add in ½ of a tomato cut into cubes. Cook for 30 seconds. Switch off the flame.
13.Heat 1 tbsp of oil. Add in 2 whole dried red chilies. Cook till the chilies puff.
14.Next add in 6-8 pounded garlic cloves.
15.Cook on low flame till the garlic is light brown.
16.Add in ½ tsp of red chili powder. Cook for 30 seconds. Keep aside for now. You can add in little water to avoid the burning of red chili powder.
17.Add in the first tempering to the cooked dal.
18.Followed by 3 tbsp of butter. Let it simmer for a good 30-40 minutes.
19.Check and adjust the seasoning and consistency of the dal at the time of serving. If the need be add boiled water to adjust the consistency. Serve dal. Pour the second tempering. Drizzle lemon juice.
20.Serve hot. Bon appetite!
PREP TIME 15 minutes + 30 minutes soaking time
COOK TIME 15 minutes + 30 minutes simmering time
TOTAL TIME 30 minutes + 60 minutes passive time
To pressure cook dal:
For the First tempering:
For the Second Tempering:
To pressure cook dal:
To prepare the first tempering:
To make the second tempering:
To make Dhaba Dal:
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