Phaanu dal – a spicy, high fibre treat

Put your culinary skills to the test with this rich and creamy phaanu dish, cooked from scratch.

Phaanu dal

I've always been a dal lover and have a few 'go to' recipes for quick side dishes – but they are pretty bog standard and generally made from tinned pulses. This recipe for phaanu dal is an all-in, roll up your sleaves type dish – but it is well worth the extra effort.  

Serves 4


  • 1 cup gahat or kulath (horse gram)
  • 1/2 cup oil (preferably mustard oil)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 1 tsp jakhiya or cumin
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida (heeng)
  • 1/2 tsp dry coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 cups water
  • salt
  • ghee, for garnish


Soak the gahat daal in water overnight. If using arhar daal, soak for 1-2 hours.

In the morning wash and rub the daal in running water so that it is free of seed covering (chilka). Then, grind it into a dry thick paste in a mixer or on a silbatta along with green chillies, garlic and ginger.

Place a tawa (or any flat cooking pan) on a moderate flame. Put some oil and make thick pancakes (like cutlets) from the daal paste. Use only half of the paste for making the cakes.

Mix water with the remaining paste making it of pouring consistency. Heat oil in a pan and add jakhiya seeds and asafoetida. Now add gahat paste, turmeric powder, dry coriander powder and salt.

Cover and cook for about 10 minutes on slow fire. Add the gahat cakes to the gravy and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes. The gravy should have pouring consistency. If too thick, add some more water and heat until it boils.

Garnish with pure ghee and chopped coriander leaves. Serve with steamed rice.

If you like this recipe and fancy trying other similar dishes head over to British Dal Festival.


Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by 12:58 pm Food & Drink