Lentils make a key part of an Indian meal; perhaps because they are found in such huge variety here. Similarly, there are variety of ways they are consumed and the way they are cooked. They are boiled and tempered; they are soaked and ground to make dumplings or crepes or pancakes; they are used as stuffing for making flat breads; they are eaten in salad form; they are turned into a hearty and comforting soup; they are even turned into fritters.
Almost all types of lentils and grams are consumed in Punjab not none comes near the heralded status of Mah ki dal. It is nearly every Punjabi’s favourite which is why Dal Makhani is a quintessential part of the Punjabi cuisine apart from the Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka. However, Mah Chhole di Daal (Ivory Lentil & Split Bengal Gram) is another preparation that is exclusive to Punjab and typically made in Punjabi households only. I have never come across any other state cooking either the combo or the mah dhuli daal also called urad dhuli daal (Ivory lentils) the way other lentils are made…tempered or curried. Although ivory lentils are extensively used across India (to make dumplings called vada or bhalle and perhaps other forms too) but the ivory lentil curry is exclusive to Punjab I believe.
Since the dal is not made in my marital home, I tried to introduce this dal to them post my marriage but the only person who really enjoyed it was my father-in-law. My husband and daughter’s response wasn’t as encouraging as I would have wanted it to be! So I thought of presenting it in a salad form which was thankfully enjoyed by all.
Pickles and chutneys in a bottle are a passé and following the trend of serving almost everything in a jar/bottle – from desserts to cakes, puddings to salad, I too decided to follow the fad, a bit late though, and serve the salad this way. I think food in jar looks really cool and very attractive.
½ cup ivory lentils
½ cup split Bengal gram (soaked overnight)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
A small pinch of asafoetida
Salt and black pepper to taste
½ tsp chaat masala (easily available in Indian grocery stores)
A pinch of garam masala
2 tbsp shredded carrots
2 tbsp shredded cucumber
3 tbsp pomegranate seeds
Couple of cherry tomatoes
Dash of lemon juice
1tbsp chopped cilantro (coriander leaves)
A few mint leaves
A little drizzle of vegetable oil or any oil that you fancy
Boil enough water in a pan. Add two whole garlic cloves (peeled), just a wee bit of asafoetida and split Bengal gram.
Cook till the lentil is cooked yet firmly holds its shape. Squish the cloves of garlic and mix them into the lentil. (I used a grater to the the job)
Drain water and cool.
Boil the spit Bengal grams separately and when they are done, drain water and cool.
Add the rest of the ingredients and adjust seasoning.
Note: The seasoning and other ingredients can be adjusted to taste. I used the amount which suits my family taste.
Serves: Approx 4 persons
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Lentils and dhal must be there especially for Indian dishes. I use lots of it and from this variety to that variety. While this style of using dhal is new to me, I am tempted and certainly something new and worth the try.
It’s amazing how many different types of lentils exist! I just recently found out about urid black lentils. Hopefully is not to late for me to experiment with all the other varieties, including your Bengal gram in this healthy and hearthy recipe!
OMG what all flavours are going on together!! Dals with pomegranate that is really interesting.True jars are making such a comeback and everything looks pretty neat with the layers right! Oh I would have totally lost my cool making those layers u have done it so well Taruna.
I will be calling you my dal expert from now on. I have such a small brain when it’s about different lentile types and their various names. So very confusing at time, you should see me in he market. Your layered lentil salad is a motivator for starter to get more into the dal world!
Love how you presented it with all the layers so each one looks beautiful and gets to shine. I usually just cook with masoor dal or sometimes channa dal… but I need to try out more dals. I have only used french lentils in salad… time to start experimenting I think. 🙂
My parents families always made urad daal in a curry form along with the usually vade and dry preparation. They’re Hyderabadi but Hyderabadi cuisine is a mix of Northern and Southern cooking anyway and so maybe that’s why. I love the presentation and the idea of daal salad. I know during Ramadan we do a dry prep for chana daal but I can see adding the salad vegetables would elevate it totally! Thanks for the recipe!
We only have one type of lentil here in Greece but we love it. Usually we make it as a soup. lately we have started making salads with them. I love those types of lentils and I would love to try them out!
Thanks Katerina. I think lentils are a regular feature in the Middle Eastern and Indian sub-continent cuisine. Indians especially have been predominantly vegetarians and lentils are a major source of protein for them.