Sultani Dal From The Nawabs

Heirloom Recipes i.e old vintage recipes that have endured the test of time is the theme for this Monthly Mingle hosted by Jugalbandi. The theme made me go to the place where I belong, where I have grown and where I have developed the special love for food. Lucknow, the city of Nawab is still rich with the reminiscence of its royal heritage and luxurious life of the Nawabs, who were great connoisseurs of fine food. Their regular experimentation in the royal kitchens gave the Avadhi cuisine a new height of fineness and dimension. Greatly influenced by Mughal cooking techniques, each dish of Awadhi cuisine is an example of richness in both flavor and aroma. The Awadhi style of cooking includes cooking food slowly and steadily so that all ingredients are well soaked and cooked into each other. Kebabs, kormas, biryani, kaliya, nahari-kulchas, zarda, sheermal, roomali rotis and warqi paranthas, are the main attractions of Awadhi food.

The Sultani Dal is another such attraction, discovered by a very famous rakabdar of Lucknow, Pir Ali and passed on from generations to generations. The tantalizing aroma coming from the dal is magical and has the prowess to activate your hunger pangs instantly. It is a rich variation of Arhar Dal (Pigeon Beans). When I had tasted it for the first time in a friend's party, I was amazed by the flavor. The cook who made it had learned from his father and his father from his father. A recipe passed on from generations to generations. Arhar Dal is cooked in North Indian homes almost daily. But the rich aromatic Sultani Dal has elevated the simple dal to a dal for kings. You can make Sultani Dal on special occasions in your house and your loved ones are sure to feel like Kings.


1 cup pigeon beans (Arhar Dal)
4 garlic cloves chopped
2 green chillies sliced
1 large onion chopped
1 onion chopped
1 betel leaf
2-3 cardamom pods
6 cloves
few sprigs of mint and cilantro leaves (chopped)
1 teaspoon cumin Seeds
1 teaspoon. saffron dissolved in 1 tbsp milk
¼ tbsp. red chilly powder
¼ tbsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup cream
1 cup milk
2-3 tbsp butter or oil
1 piece of live coal


* Cook the lentils in 2-3 cups of water in a large pan or handi.
* Meanwhile mix milk, cream and yogurt and keep in a cool place.
* Grind the cloves and cardamoms to a paste.
* When dal is cooked, water is evaporated otherwise strain away the water. Mash the dal.
* Place a betel leaf on the dal, over it cardamoms and cloves paste followed by a small piece of burning coal. Pour 1 tbsp of butter and cover with a lid for 10 minutes.
* Then remove the betel leaf and coal.
* Add salt to taste, red chilly powder, turmeric powder, milk yogurt mixture and saffron dissolved in a spoon of milk. Mix well and cook on low heat.
* In another frying pan add butter, cumin seeds and chopped onions
* When onions are golden brown add garlic, and tomatoes.
* Pour this over the dal.
* Serve hot garnished with the chopped green chillies and mint leaves.

Note: If you are a non-vegetarian, you can add mutton stock instead of milk


Pari on September 5, 2009 at 5:22 AM said...

Lovely , rich dal. I have book marked. will try it and let u know.

Priti on September 5, 2009 at 5:31 AM said...

Nice dal...going to try..bookmarked it..

Chow and Chatter on September 5, 2009 at 5:35 AM said...

oh this dal looks wonderful

A 2 Z Vegetarian Cuisine on September 5, 2009 at 6:45 AM said...

That is one delicious and healthy dal. Nice combo for roti or rice.

Anncoo on September 5, 2009 at 6:46 AM said...

I know the food different between North and South Indian. I've tried before naan comes with a spicy sauce with some minced meat and beans. Your recipe really yummy with so many spices in it. :)

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous & Spicy looking...!

rekhas kitchen on September 5, 2009 at 8:50 AM said...

lovely, rich and creamy dal looks so delicious nice pic. too.

Parita on September 5, 2009 at 11:27 AM said...

Dal looks stunning, never used yogurt in dal, sounds very creamy!

Padma on September 6, 2009 at 7:25 PM said...

Dal looks creamy and yummm.... nice click

casablanca68 on September 6, 2009 at 9:00 PM said...

Looks delicious. Can't wait to try!

Purva Desai on September 7, 2009 at 5:08 AM said...

must say......very nawabi, rich and delicious dal

Home Cooked Oriya Food on September 7, 2009 at 7:37 PM said...

Royal daal indeed! Lovely!

Kitchen Flavours on September 14, 2009 at 11:15 PM said...

Adding betel leaf to dal is very new to me...looks yum....sounds flavourful and aromatic....

Mallugirl on September 15, 2009 at 10:52 AM said...

i am new here.:) hi stopped when i saw a new recipe for my standard dal. have to try this.

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