Gujarati Dal

The sweet-and-sour components of this dal reflect the importance of sweet notes in food from the region, while nuts add a comforting crunch.

This dal is made in most households in the region of Gujarat, in Western India. The sweet-and-sour components reflect the importance of sweet notes in food from this region, while nuts add a comforting crunch. 

See also Indian-Spiced Lentils with Spinach and Rhubarb



  • 2 cups split and skinned toor dal 
(pigeon peas), picked over and washed
  • 1 large dried, pitted date
  • 2 tbsp raw, unsalted, skinned peanuts
  • 1 medium tomato, finely diced
  • 1–4 fresh Thai or serrano chiles, stems removed and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tbsp jaggery or light-brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt, or more to taste
  • 1 tsp red chile powder or cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Tarka (Tempering)

  • 2 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch hing or asafoetida
  • ½ tsp black or brown mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 10 fenugreek seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 whole dried red chiles, 
broken into pieces
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 curry leaves


  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon


In a large pot, bring dal, date, and 8 cups water to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until soft, 40 minutes.
In a blender, blend the dal until smooth. Pour back into pot.

In a small pot, bring peanuts and 2 cups water to a boil.
Reduce heat, and simmer until peanuts soften, 15 minutes; drain.
Add tomato, fresh chiles, ginger, jaggery, salt, red chile powder, turmeric, and 4 cups of water to dal.

In a shallow pan over medium-high heat, melt ghee.
Add hing, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, cloves, bay leaf, whole chiles, cinnamon sticks, and curry leaves until the mixture turns aromatic, just under a minute.
Pour tarka into dal.

Bring dal mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 10 minutes.
Remove cloves, bay leaf, and cinnamon sticks. Add cilantro and lemon juice.
Serve piping hot with basmati rice.

See also Indian Dal Tacos

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 8
  • Calories: 171
  • Carbohydrate Content: 6 g
  • Fat Content: 6 g
  • Fiber Content: 1 g
  • Protein Content: 8 g
  • Saturated Fat Content: 2 g