Mixed Vegetables in Yellow Lentils - My Daily Dal

Lentils (dals) are such an important part of a vegetarian’s meal everyday, for all the protein it has, and for its accompaniment to rice and roti.  And my hubby being brought up in South India, needs rice and dal every day, while I’m happy with only roti and sabji.  But since I have to cook dal daily, I get really, really bored making and eating the same thing everyday.  So what I do is add variety to the simple dal.
On daily basis, we mostly have split pigeon peas (toor dal), bengal gram (chana dal), split green gram (yellow moong dal), and sometimes I add some split orange lentils (chilkewali masoor dal) or Turkish gram/mat bean (moth/matki) to it.  The lentils, the spices, the vegetables, the quantities – everything in this dal recipe is absolutely flexible.  Even the procedure is flexible!  Though for a simple and plain dal, it wouldn’t even have such a long list of ingredients and method.

But for one, I don’t ever make the plain dal with only the cumin seeds tadka. (What is tadka?)  I’m always adding vegetables to my dal – basic ones being tomato and spinach, making it tamatar-palak dal.  Otherwise any other vegetables, for example if there are some veggies chopped extra from previous meal, or if some veggies are about to rot, or sometimes just anything random.  Not only does it make dal more nutritious, it also adds color.  And helps me play guessing games with my husband – if he guesses the correct vegetables in the dal, he gets dessert.  Hehe.

There are 3 ways of cooking this mixed vegetable in yellow lentils using pressure cooker:
1) Everything altogether in the pressure cooker, let’s call it one-pot dal, and
2) Dal cooked in pressure cooker, veggies cooked in pan, let’s call it two-pot dal.
3) Dal and veggies in pressure cooker, tadka in the end, let’s call it pot-pot dal.  lol.

I make Dal # 1 when I have the time to chop and prepare everything before or while starting to pressure cook the lentils and veggies.  I make Dal # 2 when I lack time and need to prepare veggies while dal gets pressure cooked and cooled.  I make Dal # 3 when I forget the tempering (tadka) at the beginning and go on throwing everything in the pressure cooker.  Hehe, yes, that happens too.

It also depends on my mood; when I feel like cooking either style or whether I wish to wash the extra pan, but each of them taste equally great.

Ingredients you’ll need for making one-pot, two-pot, or pot-pot style of mixed vegetable dal mixed vegetables in yellow lentils:

1 cup split pigeon peas / Bengal gram / split green gram or a combination of either
1 tsp mustard seeds [rai] / cumin seeds [jeera] / combination of both
2–4 dried red chilies, broken [sookhi lal mirchi] *
6–10 curry leaves [kari patta] *
1 pinch asafoetida [heeng] *
1 tsp minced garlic / garlic paste, or to taste [lehsun] *
1 tsp grated ginger / ginger paste, or to taste [adrak] *
1 tsp chopped green chilies / green chili paste, or to taste [hari mirch]
AND/OR 1 tsp red chili powder, or to taste [lal mirch powder]
¼ tsp turmeric powder [haldi]
2-3 cups various chopped vegetables [sabji]
1 tsp salt, or to taste [namak]
½ tsp sugar, or to taste [shakkar/cheeni] *
1 tsp lemon juice, or to taste [nimbu ka ras] *
1 Tbsp cilantro chopped [hara dhaniya/kothmir] *


Dal # 1: Procedure for one-pot mixed vegetable dal in a pressure cooker:
1.  Rinse the 1 cup dal several times until clean.  I don’t like to wash under running water because it wastes a lot of water.  Instead, I fill up water in one of my plastic containers and rub the lentils inside.  Then discard dirty water, fill fresh tap water again.  Continue this cycle about 4-5 times.  Then if you have time, you can let the dal soak in 2 cups water for anywhere between 20 minutes to 2 hours.  Or you can use it right away.

2.  Heat oil/ghee in pressure cooker, add mustard seeds AND/OR cumin seeds, let pop, add dry red chilies + curry leaves + asafoetida.

At this point, if you’re using onions as one of your vegetables, you add them first inside the pressure cooker to sauté until golden-brown, then add garlic + ginger + green chilies AND/OR red chili powder + turmeric powder + all other vegetables + your choice of dal that you rinsed.

Mix everything for a minute.  Now even if you don’t sauté onions first, you can just throw all the ingredients together in the pressure cooker and the dal will still turn out great.  But I notice that sautéing the vegetables and lentils first gives a better flavor and I like it this way.  Now, after you’ve mixed all well, add salt + sugar + about 2.5 cup to max 3 cups water.

3.  Close the pressure cooker lid tight and well.  Let the dal cook on medium heat until 3-4 whistles until done, then switch off heat.  Open the lid when all the steam is out and it’s safe.  Mix the dal around because it may have settled in the bottom and some water layer on top.  Add lemon juice and garnish with cilantro.

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Dal # 2: Procedure for two-pot mixed vegetable dal using a pressure cooker and a pan:
1.  The concept of rinse and soak is same as the Procedure # 1 above.  Then put the dal + 2 cup water in pressure cooker, let cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes until 3-4 whistles.  Switch off heat when the dal is done, while you are cooking the veggies.

2. While that goes on, start to prepare all the pastes or chopped vegetables and other ingredients.  Then heat oil/ghee in pan.  Add mustard seeds AND/OR cumin seeds, let pop, add dry red chilies + curry leaves + asafoetida.  At this point, if you’re using onions AND/OR potato as one of your vegetables, you add them first and sauté until golden-brown, then add garlic + ginger + green chilies AND/OR red chili powder + turmeric powder + all other vegetables and cook for couple of minutes like you would prepare a stir-fry vegetable dish.  Add salt + sugar and mix.

3.  At this point: a) if your dal is pressure cooked and the steam is cooled down and ready to open lid – check the consistency of dal, if you like a more liquidy dal (I don't) then add water and let it come to a boil, then pour the dal into the pan of stir-fried veggies, otherwise b) switch off the heat of pan and wait until dal is pressure cooked, then adjust water, boil, pour into pan and reheat.

4.  Mix the dal and veggies until well combined.  Taste and adjust salt, add lemon juice and garnish with cilantro.

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Dal # 3: Procedure for pot-pot mixed vegetable dal using a pressure cooker and a ladle:

1.  The concept of rinsing and soaking the dal is same as the Procedure # 1 of one-pot dal above.  Then put the dal + garlic + ginger + green chilies AND/OR red chili powder + turmeric powder + all vegetables + salt + sugar + 2.5 cup water in pressure cooker, let cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes until 3-4 whistles.

2.  Switch off heat and let the pressure release completely before you open the pressure cooker lid.  If your dal is thick and you want it liquidier, now is the time to add water to the dal within pressure cooker and let it come to a boil without the lid.  Then leave dal in the pressure cooker or transfer to serving bowl.

3.  Now get the tadka ready.  In a ladle or the smallest bowl-shaped pan you have, heat up oil.  Add mustard seeds AND/OR cumin seeds, let pop, add dry red chilies + curry leaves + asafoetida and let heat up few seconds.  Quickly but gently insert this ladle/pan into the dal.  It will sizzle big time.  Mix well.  Taste and adjust salt, add lemon juice and garnish with cilantro.
The 1 cup raw/uncooked dal along with vegetables ends up in double the quantity and makes enough for 5-6 persons.  I usually make this amount of dal at dinner, pack some in lunchbox for husband for the next day and keep some for my lunch too.  It's great for working and busy people because you can make this dal once and refrigerate in small containers to consume over a period of 3-4 days, or freeze and consume within 2-3 months.  Dal freezes well.

Serve the warm Mixed Vegetable Dal (or if it’s Tamatar-Palak Dal) with roti and rice, at lunch or dinner, or have the dal by itself.  It is nutritious and can be consumed just like a soup.  But don’t call it “Dal Soup”, puh-leese!

What do you have to cook regularly and how do you add variety to it?  Tell me!


  1. same here, love to roast the dal before cooking. this looks delicious.

    1. thanks! someday i'll try cooking on coal too. i hear it tastes different & amazing.

    2. Hi Nisha,

      All of my childhood, I have eaten food cooked in a coal stove. And it tastes amazing. We never had a mixer grinder either, we used to grind our masalas in what we call an 'Ammi' (in tamil). The taste is great. And our dry masalas were pound. I love all the technology and invenntions that came after that but the taste I have never quite had the same :). You must try it.

      You are doing a great job. I love your blog.


  2. Such an interesting and detailed post on the humble mixed daal:)only you can do this dear..but really the daal looks so delicious and the clicks are very tempting.loved the recipe and the post!

    1. hehe! i didn't want to have 3 posts on the 3 styles of dal - that's why combined into one longggg post. thanks for your lovely comment, as always :)

  3. My today's lunch was rice with this dal, my comforting food.

    1. and my every day lunch & dinner, thanks to my hubby..GRRR!

  4. looks lovely.. my husband calls this Dal Fry.. meaning with vegetables.. he loves dal, I try to make it once a week, but i can't eat it everyday. :-)

    1. hehe! neither could i, but i'm getting used to it now..
      ah, the Dal Fry I make is only with the onion-garlic tadka, no other veggies..

  5. I am a huge fan of dal and rice....my daughter has grown up on it. It's super easy and tasty!

    Great recipe.

    Have a great weekend my friend!

    1. It's great that Maya eats dal without being fussy! :)

  6. I'm a dal lover and I liked your classification of the dals and the best one is pot-pot dal... :)

    1. Hehe. I can tell you're one of the few who actually reads between the lines and the pictures :D

  7. Man, now I'm craving some dal and rice! I love the explanation of the three different methods too.


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