Dhandar – the dal for all seasons and all reasons

Dhandar – the dal for all seasons and all reasons

3 minute read

Dhandar Final 620 x300

My in-laws recently went on vacation for a week and I got to be queen of the mansion. Glamourous right? Wrong. Each day I was wracked with worry on what to cook next. The one day I did know what to cook was the day that they were coming back however.

You will hear numerous Parsis say that, “Going on vacation and eating rich food is all fine, but on the day that I come back home, I want Dhandar boss.” There is nothing quite like the simplicity of this yellow dal to end a vacation and feel like you are right back where you belong – home.

Vacations aside, Dhandar is the Parsi equivalent of ‘chicken soup’ I believe. Served to kids and to adults on weddings, navjotes, birthdays and whilst recuperating, this is one dish that all Bawi Brides must perfect! However, in case you don’t have it down pat yet, here’s how you make it in 5 easy steps. Ingredients are at the bottom as always.

First, soak the toor dal in water atleast for 3 to 4 hours. This step is crucial in ensuring the grains break down effectively and will make your dal more creamier.

Soaked-Dal- LR

Once soaked, drain out all the water. You will note that the raw dal has almost expanded by half its size – this is a good thing!

Expanded Dal

Next, pour the dal into the pressure cooker with about 4 cups of water. Add in the turmeric and the salt.

Dal-in-Cooker - LR

4. Cook on high until the cooker gives out 3 whistles and then another 10 minutes on low heat. Once the dal is off the heat, you will need to wait a while before opening the cooker. The dal will have soaked up the water and it should look something like below:

Dhandar-cooked - LR

Give it a quick blend using a hand blender or if you wish to have an arm workout with a whisk and there you have it – amazing, simple, fabulous Dhandar.

Being a Dhandar purist, I recommend having this just as it is and that you serve it with fluffy steamed rice. To add some zing, add green chutney or Methiu Achaar on the side works best for a weekday dinner. If you have the time and need to impress, Dhandar is best served with a Fish Patio on weddings, birthdays and other celebratory occasions.

* Many Parsis also like giving the Dal a ‘Waghar’ or a tadka as it’s usually called. To do so, simply shallow fry some jeera and finely chopped garlic with ghee in a separate bowl. Some even add cumin seeds, slit green chillies and fried sliced onion should you wish to ‘Gujarati-fy’ the Dhandar. Once the waghar is ready, pour into dal for extra creaminess and zing.

To make enough for 6 you will need:

2 cups raw toor dal
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
salt to taste
4 – 5 cups water

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