Mamta's Kitchen

Panch Ratan - Five Jewels Dal (Mixed Lentils)

Panch Ratan Dal

Reeta Kumar

Lentils can be cooked in many combinations, 4-5 dals like chana (Bengal gram or yellow gram), urad (split black gram), moong (split green gram), arhar (red gram dal or pigeon peas) and masoor (red lentil) can all be mixed in equal amounts. You can make a mix of other dals too. You can mix 1 cup of each dal and keep it in a jar, ready to be cooked in any amount you require or mix smaller amount, as you need.

This mix tastes better with skinless urad dal, but can be made with black urad dal too. The amount of dal required per person depends on whether you are serving the dal with roti or with rice. Rice requires more dal. Serves 3-4.

Edited January 2020


  • 1 full cup dal mix (chana, urad/urd/urid, moong, arhar and masoor dals)

  • 3 cups water (use more if cooking without a pressure cooker)

  • Salt to taste (1-1 1/2 tsp.)

  • 1/2tsp. turmeric powder

  • For basic tarka(for other types of tarka, see notes below):

  • 2-3 tbsp. ghee or sunflower or olive oil. Ghee tastes better but oil is healthier.

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds

  • A large pinch of asafoetida or hing powder

  • 2-3 whole red chillies broken up

  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder

  • For onion and tomato tarka

  • 2-3 tbsp. ghee or sunflower or olive oil. Ghee tastes better but oil is healthier.

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds

  • 2-4 dry red chillies

  • A large pinch of asafoetida or hing powder

  • 1 inch piece ginger root, peeled and shredded/grated

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped or sliced

  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder

  • 1-2 tomatoes, chopped

  • Optional: A handful of chopped coriander leaves


  1. Wash dals well. Soak for 1/2 hour

  2. Drain the water off before cooking.

  3. Cooking in Pressure cooker

  4. Place the dals, water, salt and turmeric in a pressure cooker and bring to boil, until you hear hissing sound. Turn heat down to medium and cook under pressure for 5 minutes or 2-3 whistles.

  5. Cooking without a pressure cooker

  6. If you do not have a pressure cooker, bring dal to boil and simmer briskly until dal is tender. When ready, dal, should be soft but not mashed. You may need to add more water during boiling, if the dal begins to look too thick and dry.

  7. Place in a serving bowl.

  8. Basic Tarka or tempering:

  9. Heat ghee or oil in a tarka ladle (ladle can be bought from an Indian store) or use a soup ladle or a small pan.

  10. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida powder and let the seeds start to splutter.

  11. Add whole chillies and chilli powder, stir with a small spoon, pour over the cooked dal and cover with a lid. This will infuse the flavours into the dal.

  12. Tarka or tempering with ginger/garlic:

  13. After spluttering the cumin/mustard seeds, add a little grated ginger and/or garlic to the hot oil, fry until beginning to turn golden brown. Add chillies and chilli powder. Now add to the dal.

  14. Onion and tomato tarka

  15. Heat ghee or oil in a pan.

  16. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida/hing. When seeds splutter, add whole red chillies, ginger. Stir fry for a FEW MINUTES.

  17. Add chopped onion. Fry until medium brown.

  18. Add chilli powder, stir and then add tomatoes. Fry until tomatoes are softened.

  19. Pour the dal in and close the lid, to allow the flavours to infuse. After 10 minutes or so, stir it in.

  20. Stir in chopped coriander leaves, if using. Also sprinkle a few on top as a garnish

  21. Serve with Chapatti and Boiled Rice.


  • Also see Dal Selection.

  • Leftover dal can be added to chapatti flour, when making a dough. This makes delicious roties and parathas.

  • You can add chopped coriander leaves to all dals as a garnish.

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