Khatti Dal (Sour Lentil), is an authentic dal (lentil) recipe from Hyderabad (a metropolis in South India), that can be eaten with steamed rice or roti (Indian flatbread) and a veggie side. Ideally, it’s made with Toor/ Tuvar dal (Pigeon pea lentil) but Masoor dal (Split red lentil) can also be used.
This dal is named ‘Khatti’ (means ‘sour’ in English) as tamarind is used, which adds to it’s sour tangy flavor.
Dals (Lentils) are the backbone of Indian cuisine and no Indian meal is complete without a bowl of dal! Toor dal is a good source of proteins, carbohydrate, fiber and folic acid.
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There are many versions of Khatti dal, that can be with or without veggies. The basis of this dal is combining tomatoes, tamarind, spices and dal.
Khatti Dal (Sour Lentils)
- 3/4 cup Tuvar/ Toor dal (Pigeon Pea Lentil)
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 springs curry leaves or 10 – 12 leaves
- 3 nos Dried red chilli whole
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
- 2 tsp Red chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
- 7-8 nos Moringa Oleifera/ 'Drumsticks' 2 inch pieces each of peeled drumsticks (optional)
- 7-8 nos Pearl (Red) onions or 1/2 Red onion diced (optional)
- 10-12 nos 1/2 inch Bottle Gourd or 'Kaddu'/ Calabash (optional)
- 4 tsp Tomato paste or 2 red tomatoes chopped
- 2 tsp Tamarind pulp/ paste
- 2 tbsp Cilantro chopped
- 2-3 nos Green chili or Thai green chili (1/2 inch pieces)
- Water as required
- Salt to taste
- In a medium bowl, wash the dal (lentils) thoroughly twice and soak it in water for 15 minutes (this will tenderize the dal and will cook faster).
- Transfer the contents of the bowl to a pressure cooker/ instapot and add sufficient water for cooking. Give it 3 whistles on medium flame. Let it cool. Once cooled mash the dal into a fine paste and keep it aside. If using Instapot: 1:3 lentil: water ratio, 7 minutes high pressure, 15 minutes NPR.
- In a medium cooking pot, heat oil and add curry leaves, dried red chili, mustard, cumin and fenugreek seeds. Let it cook for a minute.
- Now add red chili powder, turmeric powder and ginger garlic paste. Cook for another minute.
- Next add drumsticks, bottle gourd, baby red onions (or diced red onions). Cook for a minute and then add sufficient water to cover the vegetables. (This step is optional as adding vegetables is your choice).
- Once the water evaporates, and the veggies are cooked, add the tomato paste (or chopped tomatoes). Cook for another 7-8 minutes. If using the paste, add water to dissolve it.
- Next add the tamarind pulp/ paste and cook for another 7-8 minutes. Add water if necessary and bring the contents to a boil.
- To the boiling mixture add the dal paste and add sufficient water to get a running consistency.
- Add salt and green chilis and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the pot from heat and transfer dal to a serving dish. Garnish with cilantro.