Phiki Dal (its English translation could be ‘Bland’ lentils) is a simple dal preparation. This is yet another dish from Hyderabad.
What is ‘Phiki’ dal?
As the name suggests, this dal is low on spices and hence is quite bland. However, one shouldn’t be mistaken about its flavor. It’s a tasty and nutritious lentil that can add flavor to your meal.
Which type of lentil can be used?
Phiki Dal is usually made from Toor/ Tuvar dal (or pigeon pea lentil) but Masoor dal (or split red lentil) can also be used.
Dal and Indian Cuisine
Dal (Lentils) are the backbone of Indian cuisine and no Indian meal is complete without a bowl of dal! Dal are dried legumes and there are a variety of them available in Indian grocery.
‘Dal’ is the “soul food” of Indian cuisine. It is eaten as a side dish or main course but the truth is, no Indian meal is complete without ‘Dal’.
Is it Nutritious?
Of course, it is. Dal (dried legumes) are considered to be cheap and rich source of proteins and fibers. Toor dal specifically is also a good source of folic acid and carbohydrates.
Cooking the Dal
It is always important to cook dal fully. There is nothing called as cooking lentils al dente! Hence most Indian households use a “Pressure cooker” to cook their legumes daily. Using a pressure cooker saves you time and energy. If you aren’t using one, then boil the legume in a pot until it’s soft.
Another cooking instrument commonly found in Indian households is wooden “Mathani” or churner. This is used for mashing dal once it’s cooked. You can alternatively use a wooden spatula or a masher.
Next comes the consistency of the dal. I would say, it’s completely your choice. If you want your dal to be thick, then don’t add too much water, if you want it running consistency then you may have to add some.
Also, remember salt plays a very important role. Always salt your dal well.
Finally, it’s the mild tempering of ghee (or butter), dried red chilis, asafoetida (or hing), cumin and mustard seeds, curry leaves, garlic, turmeric and a dash of red chili powder (optional) that adds the flavor.
Remember, great dishes comes from simple ingredients!
I strongly belief that a great cook is one who can do wonders with simple ingredients and Indian cooking brings that out too well.
Cooked Toor dal, salt, green chilis and a little ghee (or butter) tempering does the magic!
Celebrating the spirit of being a Hyderabadi
As a Hyderabadi, through this post, I would like to bring to my readers a simple and healthy weekday recipe from Hyderabad 🙂
- 3/4 cup Tuvar/ Toor dal (Pigeon Pea Lentil) masoor dal (or split red lentil) can be used
- 2 tbsp Ghee or butter. Cooking oil can also be used
- 5-6 curry leaves
- 2-3 whole Dried red chilli
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- a pinch Asafetida or hing (optional)
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder optional
- 1-2 whole Green chili
- 1 tsp garlic paste or 2-3 minced garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp Cilantro for garnish
- 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 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.
- Add water to obtain desired consistency and add salt. Add chopped green chili and bring it to a boil.
- In a saute pan, heat ghee and add mustard seeds. Once they sputter, add cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds. Next add curry leaves, dried red chili and hing.
- Fry for another 30 seconds and add garlic paste. Cook another 30 seconds (or until the pungent aroma of garlic disappears).
- Next add turmeric and red chili powder, give it a quick stir and add it to the boiling dal.
- Let it boil for another 5-7 minutes. This will allow the flavors to be well absorbed in the dal.
- Remove from heat and transfer into a serving dish. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy with hot rice!