Monday, June 26, 2006

A Ton Of Protein # 7 + Nigella Awesome - Dal Fry

Dal fry garnished with chilli powder

One of my blog-buddies, Ashwini of Food for Thought did an informative post on nigella Seeds (Kalonji) a few days back, in which she appealed to the blogosphere in general to let her know about recipes using this spice, since it is not easy to come across any that easily. As she points out in this post, Nigella seeds seem to be under-appreciated in the Indian cuisine. Or maybe there is a treasure of recipes using this spice, which is just waiting to be unearthed. As our first little attempt at unearthing this treasure, some of us food-bloggers are blogging today about the dishes using Kalonji in our informal event, Nigella Awesome. (A take on the British celebrity cookbook author!) Please feel free to blog about your recipes using this black beauty in the coming days. The event should not end today; let this just be the beginning.

What I have got today is the ubiquitous Dal Fry. This is one dish, which we order each and every time we go out to a Punjabi restaurant in India. Although Dal Fry can taste different at every restaurant, it is one of those dishes which you can always bank upon. The recipe that I use for making this lentil dish is by Tarla Dalal. I follow it exactly the way given by her (which is not quite my style really!), because it turns out really well. With a characteristic earthy flavour of the awesome nigella seeds.

Recipe for Dal Fry


Dal Fry shake, anyone? :)


1 cup red Masoor dal (red lentils in the earlier picture)
¼ cup yellow moong dal (yellow lentils in the earlier picture)
1 green chilli, slit
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp grated garlic
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 onion, sliced
1 tomato, chopped
salt to taste

1 tbsp ghee/oil
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon nigella seeds (the black seeds in the earlier picture)
1 red chilli

chopped coriander leaves / some butter for garnishing

Method :

1. Wash the dals. Pressure cook them together along with the chilli, ginger, garlic, turmeric, salt and 2 cups of water.
2. Take the chilli out and discard it. Whisk the dal till it is smooth. You could use your hand-held blender for this. Keep the dal aside.
3. Heat the ghee/oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds, nigella seeds and red chilli, once the oil is hot.
4. When the mustard seeds pop, add the onion and sauté till it is translucent.
5. Add the tomato and sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes.
6. Add the dals & 1 cup of water, mix well and bring to a boil.
7. Garnish with chopped coriader leaves or a dollop of butter. In case the Dal Fry is not hot enough for you, you could garnish it with some chilli powder like in my first photograph.

Serve warm with rice/rotis/naan/paratha or phulkas.


Dal fry served with rice and a wedge of lime

As their participation to this event, this is what our fellow bloggers have got.

Ashwini : Achaari Baingan
Krithika : Squash Subzi
Priya : Achaari Aloo, Naan, Namakparas
Shammi : Savoury Cheddar cheese biscuits

Check them out!

Jihva for ingredients


Ashwini said...

Beauuuuuutiful photos :-)
As I have already told you this recipe is a surefire winner!!!

Anonymous said...

This is a great one. As a great fan once said... I could swim in this Dal-Lake!!

KrishnaArjuna said...

Looks delicious! Nice presentation..

Linda said...

Hey Vaishali -- wow, love the recipe but look at those pics! Is that a german glass the dals are in? And that pattern of red chili powder in first pic... very clever idea how you did that. :)

Nandan said...

Amazing snaps, Vaishali. With papad and limbaache loNache, the last picture would be ideal comfort food. :)

Vaishali said...

Thanks, Ashwini. Surefire winner! I like those words. :)

TOA, hahahaha...I had a good laugh there.

Thanks, Arjuna.

Hey Linda, it feels so nice to hear those words. I feel flattered. :) Btw, this pattern of glasses is quite popular in Germany. (Is it not in the US?) This one is from Ikea.

Nandan, ideal comfort food? 100%. TondAala paaNi suTale.

Sumitha said...

Vaish you always take that extra step and you present your dishes beautifully,dont you?All the 3 photos are very good and the dal fry looks delicious.
Meanwhile I saw the Low fat Rose lassi in Barbaras blog yesterday and was very thrilled to see your submission!

Krithika said...

Vaishali, Masoor and moong dal combination is to die for. Your pictures have done complete justice to this dal.

shilpa said...

Wow.that looks delicious. I never tried Nigella seeds. I think it is time to buy it now :).

Anupama said...

I make a similar kind of dal myself, and i call it Pancharatna Dal because I use 5 dals in all. As a finishing touch it is a good idea to temper it with chopped garlic and dried red chillies in hot oil.

shammi said...

Beautiful, YUMMY photos, Vaish :)

Vaishali said...

Hey thanks, Sumitha. It feels so nice to read that comment. Thanks again. Btw, I published many posts immediately after the Lassi post. So, it kinda got overlooked.

Krithika, this dal combo is really tasty. I like cooking with Masoor dal.

Shilpa, it sure is time you tried out nigella seeds. :)

Thanks for that great tip, Anupama. And welcome to my blog!

Shammi, *blush* *blush* *blush*......

shilpa said...

Vaishali, Shammi has the fabulous looking Cheddar cheese biscuits recipe where she is using Nigella seeds. Please include that also in your round up, so that we can get all the recipes at a place :).

Vineela said...

Hi Vaishali,
Dal fry looks yummy and photo looks great.Sakhsr bhaat and cloves hope to try this combo.thanks for sharing

archana said...

Very good looking photos, loved the shake !!!!

Linda said...

Vaishali, am happy if I could give you a smile :) Yes, those glasses are popular here too. We even have a new Ikea, which I have not yet visited. As soon as I get some nigella seeds I'm going to try this dal.

BDSN said...

Hey love this dhal idea..bcoz i have tonnes of masoor dhal in my kitchen and I have been seeing a lot of recipes for this dhal but never ventured to try it..but now i gotta try ...

Vaishali said...

Shilpa, did that. You must have seen already.

You always say nice things, Vineela.

Archana, I was very thrilled when I got the idea for the shake photograph.

Linda, thanks for coming back on that.

BDSN, Masoor dal is much more versatile than I thought. Most important characheristic of it being that it cooks amazingly fast.

eli said...

Hi Vaishali

I just discovered your beautiful blog through Puspha´s blog. I´m more familiar with Malaysian Indian cooking so there are some recipes here which are unfamiliar to me. Nevertheless my hubby & I love Indian food and I do cook it sometimes as it involves quite a lot of work not to mention it calls for a lot of different spices too. I´m going to try out your Dhal Fry recipe as it sounds very yummy & it will go well with the roti I have made recently. Btw, I live in Düsseldorf too! Which part of Dus are you at?

Vaishali said...

Hey Eli, it's nice to have discovered each other. I don't believe that finally know a blogger from D'dorf. I live in Unterrath. Where do you live? Btw, why don't you write me an e-mail on
As for the Dal Fry, I am sure you'll like it. Try it out.

Anonymous said...

Nigella is a spice popularly used in Bengali vegetarian recipes and other regions in eastern india. Hope this helps in some way.

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