Dalma comes to us from Odisha, an eastern Indian state that shares its coastline with the Bay of Bengal. I know hardly anything about Oriya or Odiya food, so the Dalma recipe seemed like a good way to start. It also fit in with the concept of #30daysofdaal.
The term lentil and vegetable stew sounds so generic. I said the same thing when I blogged about the Parsi Dhansak. And I will say the same thing today. Dalma should stand out on its own, it is unique enough.
I read about panch phutana (pronounced punch-foo-taa-naa) which is the signature spice used in Oriya cooking. I read somewhere that it uses star anise instead of fennel seeds but is otherwise like the panch phoran. But I could not find this reference again. So I am using panch phoran as well as a dash of anise (it is pretty strong) in the recipe. Toor Daal forms the base and the spices and seasonings are kept to a minimum.
What I like most about panch phoran based dishes, like the green daal with panch phoran that I recently blogged about, is that you get a different taste in every bite depending on what spices you are chewing on. So every bite is interesting!
Dalma uses a unique combination of vegetables – potatoes, raw banana or plantain, red pumpkin and eggplant. Some recipes suggested using Arbi or other gourds but I did not have them on hand. I am also not much of a fan of arbi. Some recipes have coconut but I have kept it out today.
The veggie combination is very slightly like Undiyu but the spices could not be more different.
The best thing I loved here is the dry rub of the chili-cumin that is added on top. It adds a new complexity of flavor and makes the dish more interesting.
Check out the detailed recipe and try it out. Dalma is vegan if made with oil, and some people also make it with ghee – your choice.
- 1 cup toor daal
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 potato cubed
- 1 cup pumpkin cubed
- ½ cup plantain cubed
- ½ cup eggplant or brinjal cubed
- 3 Tbsp oil
- 1 Tbsp panch phoran
- ½ tsp hing or Asafoetida
- ½ star anise
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt to taste
- 1 Tbsp ginger grated
- 1 dry red chili
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- Coriander or cilantro for garnish
- Pressure cook the daal and vegetables together so they are cooked well.
- Heat oil in a wok or kadai.
- Add the panch phoran and let it pop. Also add the star anise bits at this time.
- Add in the daal-vegetables mixture. Add grated ginger.
- Bring to a boil and simmer until it thickens.
- As the stew thickens it will turn creamy and will stick a bit to the pan. Make sure you keep stirring.
- Dry roast the cumin seeds and chili, cool and pound coarsely in a mortar-pestle.
- Serve Dalma hot with roti or rice, topped with the dry chili-cumin mixture. I have used fried pumpkin bits in the garnish in the picture.
- Add some fresh cilantro at top for fresher flavor.
Dalma is a super easy vegan recipe that is full of starchy vegetables and protein. Eat this on its own or serve as part of an Indian meal.
#30daysofdaal continues with this simple Odiya recipe. And oh yes, don’t forget to enter our Monsoon Magic Giveaway!