Dal Bhat

By: The Local Palate
Dal Bhatt

Vivek Surti of Tailor in Nashville shares this recipe for traditional Gujarati Dal Bhat with warm, earthy spices served over basmati rice.

A note on Jaggery: Jaggery, also called gur or palm sugar, can be found at Asian or Indian markets. Asafetida can be found at Indian markets. Both can be found online at

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Serves 8

    For the Dal
  • 1 plum tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup toor dal (pigeon peas), rinsed, picked over
  • 5 tablespoons Diamond Crystal or 3 tablespoons Morton kosher salt
  • 3 serrano chiles, halved
  • 6 ounces ginger, peeled, coarsely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 cup jaggery, grated and lightly packed
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons red chile powder, preferably Kashmiri
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • For the Rice and Assembly
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 9 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 3 dried Kashmiri, guajillo, or New Mexico chiles, seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon asafetida
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek

Make the Dal

  1. Bring tomato, toor dal, salt, and 8 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, skimming foam from surface and stirring occasionally, 8–10 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring and skimming occasionally, until dal are very soft but not disintegrated, 45–60 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, process chiles and ginger in a food processor to a coarse purée, about 1 minute. Transfer to a 2-cup measuring glass or a medium bowl; stir in jaggery, lime juice, chile powder, and turmeric. Set seasoning mixture aside.
  3. Once dal is done, mix in reserved seasoning mixture and simmer until flavors are melded, about 5 minutes. Blend dal with an immersion blender or in a blender until smooth; it should be about the consistency of heavy cream.
  1. While the dal is cooking, place rice in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Swish around with your fingers to remove surface starches, then drain through a sieve or colander. Repeat process until water runs clear, about 4 or 5 changes of water.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium pot over medium. Add rice and stir to coat grains in oil. Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil over high; reduce heat to low, cover pot, and cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Just before serving, heat remaining 4 Tbsp. oil in a small skillet over medium-high. Add curry leaves, chiles, mustard seeds, asafetida, and fenugreek one at a time, pausing for a second between each addition and swirling pan. Cook until spices are toasted and curry leaves sizzle and pop, about 20 seconds. Spoon spices over dal; serve with rice.
  • Recipe By
    Vivek Surti of Tailor in Nashville
  • Contributing City

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