Five-Lentil Stew (Panch Dal)

Total Time
1hr 15mins
Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr

From North India. If you're like me & enjoy experimenting, go to the nearest Indian store (or online) & order up as many kinds of dal as you can & then find ways to use them! This was posted on a vegetarian website & I like the recipe so I swiped it to share here. Once you have the ingredients, it's a breeze to make! **The 2 hour soak time is NOT included in the cook time**

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Rinse dals. Bring water to boil in large pot. Add dals, stir, and bring back to boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit 2 hours.
  2. Add turmeric and cayenne to dal and bring water to boil. Reduce heat slightly and simmer until dal is tender, approximately 35 minutes.
  3. 10-15 minutes before dal is ready, begin cooking spice mixture. Heat oil in heavy skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion and garlic and fry 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add cumin and garam masala and cook another minute. Add tomatoes and salt and cook until tomatoes have been reduced, approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Add onion mixture to dal and stir well. Cook 2-3 minutes more to blend flavors. Taste for salt and adjust seasoning.
  5. Serve hot in one large bowl or in individual-sized bowls with chapati or naan.
Most Helpful

5 5

I've never made indian food before, never made dal, although I have used lentils. This was my first endeavour into the world of indian food, and what a great recipe to choose for it! I found "mix dal" at my local asian store, and happlily, it had all of the required lentils, so I used 1 1/4 cups of this mix. I took magpie's advice, and doubled the tumeric and cayenne in the lentil mix, because when I tasted it after soaking and halfway through cooking, I couldn't really make out the spices very well. I also found that when the lentils were finished cooking, they were pretty soupy (and I know this is stew), but (don't laugh), I strained out some of the water, and was really pleased with the end result! In fact, when making again, I would start with 4 cups of water because I think I removed about a cup. The flavours are wonderful, and the good news is that I'll be continuing my journey into curry after this successful dish! Thanks, Elmotoo! Made for Veggie Swap 21.

5 5

I make a lot of dal recipes, but have never made one with such a variety of lentils in one dish. This is really great! I knew that my lentils would be sitting nearly all day in water, so I didn't soak the masoor dal (red lentils) since they are such quick cookers. I also used wholo chana dal (chickpeas), wasn't sure if you meant the split sort or not. In any case, it worked out fine (they soaked for a good 6 hours). I always love that tomato/onion/spice mixture, could just eat that by itself it's so good. Once you added it to the big pot of lentils though, the spices got a little lost, so I doubled up on them (cumin & garam masala). If you like lentil curries, you'll like this!! Thanks Elmotoo! Made for Veg*n swap Dec09.

5 5

I had my doubts about this recipe, but having tasted the finished product, I can put those doubts to rest. A very nice complex dish, where each ingredient contributes to the betterment of the whole. I was wondering if soaking for two hours was too long, or if I was using proper sized onion and tomatoes, but I think I made the right choices. I followed the recipe directions with regard to the soak, and used a white onion as well as two big beefsteak tomatoes. To be honest I could've eaten the onion/tomato mixture on its own, but combining it with the lentils was really good. For their small size, the taste of the lentils really cuts through the onion/tomato, which is as it should be. Recommended.