Special Dhal

I had this for the first time in USA March 2010 where a young girl called Nida had helped lay the table in readiness for a special meal prepared by her mum and this dhal was and wasnot a dhal all in one! Try it and let me know if you agree.


  • 1 cup skinless chana dhal
  • ½ cup skinless moong dhal
  • 1½ tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tbs red chillie powder
  • 1 tbs chaat masala (or lemon/lime juice)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 6 tbs cooking oil
  • 4 tbs butter and 2 tbs cooking oil
  • 1 sliced clove garlic
  • 6 tbs finely sliced red/white onion
  • 1 tsp whole cumin

To garnish

  • 4 tbs finely chopped coriander
  • 2 tbs finely sliced fresh ginger
  • 1 tbs lime/lemon juice (optional)


  1. Wash the dhals in a few changes of water, place in a saucepan, add 2 pints of water, bring to the boil and add the salt and chillies, bring to the boil.
  2. Keep on a rolling boil for 50 mins or more until the dhals are fully cooked, add chaat masala or lemon juice and garam masala, cook on a low heat until all the liquids dry up and a thick almost solid paste remains. Switch off.
  3. Heat the oil in a small frying pan and add 3 tbs of sliced onions, fry until the onions are golden brown, remove onions and drop onto the dhal, mix in properly with a wooden spoon.
  4. Remove the almost solid mixture into a flat serving dish, roughly smooth the top with a spoon.
  5. Add the butter into a small frying pan, add the garlic and sliced onions, when these turn golden brown add the cumin, switch off and transfer the butter mixture onto the dhal in the serving dish (tamper).
  6. Place 4 or 5 half inch pieces of butter on the hot special dhal (OPTIONAL)!!
  7. Finally sprinkle the coriander and fresh ginger on top, squeeze the lemon or lime and serve whilst piping hot.
  8. Serve with toast, naans or chappatis.


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About Me

I am Sabiha Khokhar, born in Kenya now living in London – a busy working mother, wife, published author and passionate cook. Despite having many interests in life, my greatest joy is FOOD!

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