Kapha-friendly Dal-Fry Lite


This is a lighter, healthier variation of traditional dal fry – the spicy Punjabi dish made from a mixture of dals and liberal doses of ghee and chili. This version is suitable for spring, winter and kapha constitutions. It is rather spicy, so pitta constitutions should eat in moderation and/or serve with a cooling chutney and extra cilantro.

Serves 3

½ cup toor dal (or tur dal)
½ cup chana dal
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp cooking oil

3 tbsp ghee
Pinch hing
1 cinnamon stick
6 cloves
2 brown cardamom pods
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
2 green chilies, chopped
1 large tomato, seeded, peeled, chopped
½ tsp chili flakes
6 curry leaves
½ tsp Himalayan salt
1½ tsp garam masala
pinch rock salt
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 tsp amchoor (mango powder)
1 tbsp lime juice (or lemon)
1 tbsp coriander leaves chopped


Spice Prep

Make the Dal: Soak chana and toor dal in water for 1 hour. Add to a medium-sized pan with water, oil and bay leaf; stir well. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and stir in the turmeric. Simmer for 60-90 minutes or until the dal is done. You know the dal is done when it is soft enough to squish with your fingers. Discard bay leaf. Use an immersion blender to lightly purée the mixture. If you desire a thinner consistency, you can add additional water. Set aside.

Make the Masala: In a medium frying pan, warm the ghee over medium heat. Add the hing, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamoms; fry for few seconds. Add the onion and fry until golden. Add the ginger, garlic paste and green chilies; fry for two minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chili flakes, curry leaves and salt. Cook until the tomatoes lose their shape. Sprinkle the masala on top and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the masala mixture to the dal.

In a small bowl combine the rock salt, coriander seeds and amchoor; stir in the lime juice. Add to the dal and mix. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro.

If you live in the US, you will find most of these ingredients at an Asian/Indian market. Ask your Indian co-workers where they shop!


More recipes like this in “The Essential Ayurvedic Cookbook“.

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