Dal Sultani is a rich and delectable lentil dish from the royal kitchens of the nawabs of Awadh, present-day Uttar Pradesh.
As the name – Dal Sultani – indicates, this dal is not your everyday humble dal. Rather, it is a shahi dal, with a rich and regal taste profile and hence considered suitable for the refined and discerning palate of sultans, nawabs, and aristocrats.
Sultani Dal – Awadhi StyleCourse: Main CourseCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Medium
250 grams Toor dal, or Arhar dal (split pigeon peas), about 1¼ cups
1⁄2 teaspoon Ginger paste
1⁄2 teaspoon Garlic paste
1 1⁄2 teaspoons Salt, or to taste
1⁄2 teaspoon red Chilli powder
350 ml Milk
100 ml Milk Cream
1/8 teaspoon Clove powder
1⁄4 teaspoon green Cardamom powder
1 large pinch Saffron, soaked in 2 teaspoons warm Milk
1⁄2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Dhungar (smoke infusion):
1⁄2 onion, peeled to remove 1 thick cup-shaped layer
1 charcoal, small piece
2 teaspoons ghee
2 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced at an angle
1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped
2 green chilies, deseeded and chopped
- Thoroughly wash Arhar / Toor dal (split pigeon peas under running water, at least three times or more till the water runs clear; then let it soak in fresh water, covered, for 10 minutes. Drain.
- Cook dal: Add drained arhar / toor dal (split pigeon peas) to a pressure cooker over high heat. Add ginger paste, garlic paste, salt, red chilli powder, and pour in 400 ml water (about 1 2/3 cups). Once the cooker reaches full pressure (at the first whistle), reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for another 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and open once cool. Use a potato masher to mash the dal till smooth.
- Give dhungar (smoke infusion): Transfer the mashed dal to a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and spread it evenly. Create a “hole” or gap in the center of the mixture with a spatula. Lay an onion layer (cup shaped) in the center gap and use a pair of tongs to place a piece of hot burning charcoal on the onion. Pour 2 teaspoons ghee onto the charcoal; it will start smoking. Immediately cover the dish tightly with the lid and set aside for 15 minutes to allow the smoke to infuse the dal. Remove charcoal and onion, and pour smoke-infused ghee over the dal.
- Pour in milk and cream. Add clove powder, green cardamom powder, and saffron along with the milk in which it was soaked. Place the saucepan back on heat and whisk well with a balloon whisk, 3 to 4 minutes, till no lumps remain and the dal is smooth in consistency. Toss in ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes. Check seasoning, adding more salt if needed.
- Tempering (tadka): In the meanwhile, place a small kadai or other small cooking utensil on the flame. Pour in 2 tablespoons ghee and, once hot, toss in cumin seeds and garlic slices. Give it a good stir and cook till the cumin seeds start to change colour, about 1 minute. Be careful not to burn the cumin seeds. Pour the tempering over the dal and stir through. Remove dal from heat.
- Garnish dal: Transfer Sultani Dal to a serving bowl and garnish with fresh coriander leaves and chopped green chilies. Serve immediately with naan or chapati.