Langar Wali Dal

Published by Bee Gill on

Today on the birthday of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji I would like to share my recipe for Langar Wali Dal.

The practice of langar was started by Guru Nanak in the 15th century to try to eliminate the caste system, where people of any religion, caste, colour, age or gender could sit and enjoy a free meal together.  Langar is available every day at Gurudwaras all over the world and is cooked by sewadar, people from the general public that help to prepare, cook and share this delicious vegetarian food.

This dal is one of the favourites and is created from a combination of lentils that people contribute to the Gurudwara – therefore there is no real fixed recipe for it.  I am going to show you a very quick version of it today using a mixture of Black Gram and Yellow split peas known as Sabut Urad and Chana dal in Punjabi.  This dish is so tasty you can eat it on its own! Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients

2 cups black gram (urad dal/urid dal)

1 cup split yellow peas (chana dal)

2 pints of cold water

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

1 teaspoon salt

1½ teaspoons turmeric (keep half back for the turka/base)

1 tablespoon of ghee or oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 diced onion

1 tablespoon each of ginger/garlic paste

1 tablespoon tomato puree/or 2 large diced tomatoes/half a 400g can of plum tomatoes

1 teaspoon garam masala

  1. Check the lentils for any stones and remove. Then soak in cold water for at minimum 4 hours.
  2. Transfer the lentils to a pressure cooker and rinse in cold running water for at least 5 or 6 changes of water, or until the water runs clear
  3. Now cover the lentils with 2 pints of water and add a teaspoon each of red chilli powder, salt and of course my favorite, the gold dust, turmeric, give it a stir then cook in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat a tablespoon of ghee or oil and add a teaspoon of cumin seeds.
  5. Once they begin to splutter in the pan, add a finely diced onion.
  6. Fry the onion until it starts to brown a little, then add 2 tablespoons of garlic and ginger paste.
  7. When you can smell the garlic add half a teaspoon of turmeric and cook for a further minute. 
  8. Now add a heaped tablespoon of tomato puree.  Alternatively, you can use 2 fresh diced tomatoes or half a large can of plum ones if you wish.
  9. Cook on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes and then add green chillies to taste.  This is optional. 
  10. Sprinkle on a teaspoon of garam masala and stir thoroughly and if needed add a little boiled water to loosen up the mixture in the pan.
  11. Allow the pressure cooker to cool and release the steam, then check the lentils. They should be cooked but still hold the shape of the grain. 
  12. Transfer them to a deep heavy based pan and add a cup of boiled water if you find they are too dry. 
  13. Once you have added the water, mash them slightly using a potato masher.  Your dal is beginning to take shape, it shouldn’t be too thick or runny and should have a slightly creamy consistency. 
  14. Take the (turka) base you prepared earlier and add it to the pan with the lentils, stirring thoroughly so that all those lovely ingredients and spices are completely mixed into your dal.
  15. Lower the heat and cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  16. Before serving add a handful of fresh chopped coriander leaves.  Serve with a dollop of ghee or butter and fresh roti or naan. 

And there we have it!  A very quick and easy Langar Wali Dal