Rajasthani Panchmel dal or Panchratan dal or mix lentils stew is a very popular delicacy from Rajasthani cuisine. This classic and creamy textured Panchratna dal is a side dish of Baati in a Rajasthani Thali. Panchmel dal recipe has a beautiful medley of aromatic flavors which come from spicy onion tomato masala. This dish of Panchratan Dal is packed with proteins and nutrients.
This healthy, comfy, aromatic and delicious Rajasthani style dal preparation is made by mixing 5 different varieties of lentils or dals.
These 5 different varieties of lentils are: moong dal (split green gram), chana dal (split Bengal gram), toor dal (split pigeon peas), masoor dal (split red lentils) and urad dal (split black gram). A mix of these 5 lentils is boiled and then cooked with masalas.
Dal is an essential part of Indian cuisine and it is cooked on a daily basis in Indian households. This panchratan dal fry recipe makes a great Indian comfy and healthy staple meal when combined with any type of Indian flatbreads such as , , some steamed rice, and a bowl of any .
Rajasthani food is rich and considered royal. As a native Rajasthani, I could tell that we use a lavish amount of ghee and spices in our traditional dishes; be it , , , or , or . You just name a traditional Rajasthani dish and it would come out luxurious.
It’s the same with this Panchratan Dal. This Panchmel Dal Fry is a rich fusion of uniquely blended contrasting textures, nutrients, and tastes.
What is Panchmel Dal or Panchratna Dal?
Panchmel Dal or Panchratna Dal is a gluten-free side dish made of 5 types of lentils which are moong dal chilka or hari moong dal, urad dal chilka or kali urad dal, , or masoor dal. This dal is also known as ‘panchkuti dal’, ‘mel ki dal’, and ‘mixed dal’ in some parts of Rajasthan.
This wholesome combination of 5 different dals cooked together and flavored with a (tempering) tadka of special ghee onion tomato masala is scrumptious. This dal recipe not only shines for its exquisite seasonings but also the texture and the flavours of 5 diverse dals are so outstandingly noticeable in this gratifying dish. Panchmel Dal gets a nice scented richness from ghee and whole spices.
What is the meaning of Panchmel Dal or Panchratna Dal?
In Hindi language, the word ‘panch’ translates to five. ‘Mel’ is the translation of mix, and ‘Dal’ is a word known for lentils. So in simple words ‘Panchmel Dal’ means ‘Mix of 5 Lentils’. In some parts of Rajasthan, this dal is also known as Panchratna Dal. Here Panch is used for number 5, and Ratna stands for jewels. This means ‘5 jewels dal’, where each lentil is considered as a jewel.
What 5 lentils are used in the traditional and authentic Panchmel Dal recipe?
Below is the list of 5 dals (lentils) used in the authentic Panchmel or Panchratan dal recipe.
- Urad dal chilka (split black lentils) - dhuli urad dal can also be used
- Chana dal ( split bengal gram or chickpeas)
- Moong dal chilka (split green grams) - You can also use dhuli moong dal
- Masoor dal (split red lentils) - moth dal can be replaced with masoor dal
- Tuvar/toor dal or arhar ki dal ( split pigeon peas )
How to make Panchmel Dal?
First, you mix and rinse dals. Then dals are boiled along with water, salt, turmeric powder, asafoetida, and some ghee. Then this dal is cooked with some spicy tadka made with onion tomato and spices. To get the full recipe, just go to the recipe box or follow the Panchmel dal tadka recipe video tutorial presented on this page.
Can I store 5 lentils mix for later use?
Yes, certainly. In fact, this is the way traditional Rajasthani families store this dal. This is because people often eat this panchmel dal tadka, and every time mixing 5 dals take a little bit of extra time and effort. So for the ease and time-saving, people usually store the mix of these 5 dals.
The dals are mixed in equal parts and then it is stored in a container. Store your dal mix, and anytime you want to make this dal, simply take out the dal mix and follow the rest of the recipe.
How to make no onion garlic Panchmel Dal?
This dal recipe is made in both onion garlic and no onion garlic versions. For making a no onion garlic version, simply omit onion and garlic from the recipe and the rest of the recipe will be the same.
Can I freeze Panchmel Dal?
Yes, this Panchmel Dal or Panchratan Dal recipe is completely freezable. You can freeze the leftover dal in a freezer-safe container for up to 1 month. Simply thaw at room temperature before serving and then heat it up. To freshen up the seasoning, add some garam masala and fresh coriander leaves to panchmel dal.
How to serve Panchmel Dal?
Panchmel dal or Panchratna dal is a Rajasthani side dish that goes well with Bati or Baati (Rajasthani wheat flour dumplings), chapati, or . Basically, this can be served with any type of flatbread. This dal also makes a great pairing with steamed rice or .
Tips and Suggestions for making your best Panchmel Dal:
- I would not suggest cooking this dal in oil if you are looking for authentic flavorings. Traditional Panchmel dal recipe is made entirely in ghee. This is how my Grandmother used to make panchmel dal. However, I use the combination of ghee and oil for making this dal. So you can make this dal either in ghee, or in the combination of ghee and oil.
- I have soaked dals for 1 hour, this is because soaking dals in water for sometime makes the cooking process easy and fast.
- I have used both whole spices and garam masala powder in this recipe. This is because this Rajasthani recipe of panchmel dal is generally spicy and hot. However, if you don’t want it too spicy, then you can reduce the amount of garam masala powder.
- I have boiled dals in a stovetop pressure cooker. You can also make this dal in an Instant Pot, a slow cooker, or in a thick bottomed pan.
- This is a spicy dal and its hotness levels are a bit high. So feel free to adjust the amount of spices in this recipe.
- If you want this dal less hot, then you can replace red chili powder with Kashmiri red chili powder. This gives a nice color to dal and also it is not very hot.
Rajasthani Panchmel Dal | Panchratan Dal Recipe (Step-by-step photo instructions)
How To Cook Panchmel Dal:
- Add all the dals to a large mixing bowl.
- Mix well using fingers and rinse 3-4 times.
- Soak the dals (lentils) in 2 cups of water for 1 hour.
- In a pressure cooker add the mix of dals (lentils) along with 3 cups of some water. (Alternatively, you can also cook dals in a thick bottomed pan, or a slow cooker.)
- Next add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, a pinch of asafoetida (hing), and 1 teaspoon of ghee.
- Cover the lid and pressure cook for 6-7 whistles over medium heat.
- Let the pressure release naturally before opening the lid.
- At this point, the mix of dals should be completely cooked and you should be able to mash them with your fingers. Mash some of the cooked dal using a ladle.
How To Make Temepring (Tadka) For Panchmel Dal:
- To make the tempering, in a large pot/pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil and 3 tablespoons ghee on medium heat (You can also use butter instead of ghee).
- Once the oil ghee mixture is hot, add a pinch of asafoetida. Sauté for a few seconds.
- Then add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Let the seeds crackle for a few seconds.
- Add bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, and crushed black cardamom. Sauté for a few seconds.
- Add chopped onions and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add green chilies and sauté for another minute.
- Then add minced garlic, minced ginger, and 2 dried red chiles.
- Fry for 2 minutes or until onion turns translucent.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon red chili powder, 2 teaspoons coriander powder and mix well.
- Sauté over medium-low heat for 1 minute or until the oil leaves the side.
- Take out 3 teaspoons of masala in a bowl and keep it aside. (We will use at the time of serving)
- Add chopped tomatoes, ground black pepper, and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add 4 tablespoons of water and mix well again.
- Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until oil starts oozing out from the sides. To get the smooth texture, mash tomatoes with a spoon.
- Once the masala is ready, add cooked dal to the pan and mix well.
- Add salt to taste and mix again. This dal is supposed to be of creamy consistency. (At this stage you can also add some water if the dal mixture looks too thick.)
- Boil for 2 minutes over medium-low heat. This boiling time ensures that your dal will absorb all the flavors from the masala and it would get a nice and creamy texture.
- Add garam masala powder, coriander leaves and mix well and boil for another minute.
- Add 1 teaspoon of ghee and mix well. Turn off the heat.
- Transfer dal to a serving bowl and drizzle with some tempering.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and drizzle with some lemon juice and ghee.
- Serve this delightful Panchmel Dal or Panchratna Dal hot with bati, chapati, rice, or paratha.