Dal Raisina

Raisina hills is the prominent landmark in India where our President’s housing estate (Rashtrapathi Bhavan), Parliament house, Prime Minister’s office and other government offices are situated. Dal Raisina is the signature dish prepared in the Rashtrapathi Bhavan kitchen for VIPs & foreign dignitaries. Dal Raisina is a sumptuous lentil curry prepared by brewing assorted lentils & aromatic spices in lavish amounts of butter & heavy cream in slow fire for long hours. Recently it was cooked for unprecedented 48 long hours specially for the guests present during the swearing-in ceremony of our Prime Minster and his cabinet of ministers held at Rashtrapathi Bhavan.

Slow cooking is almost a forgotten cooking practice for two generations, I remember my grandmother preparing some specialty curries & milk based desserts like thirattu paal, paal payasam, etc. in slow fire for several hours. Nowadays our kitchens are equipped with not less than half a dozen of pressure cookers of varied sizes but we are reluctant to invest on the slow cooker. It is mainly because I don’t have a patience to wait for several hours to get my food cooked, nor the confidence to leave the food getting cooked unattended. After reading the article published in newspaper a couple of days ago about the unusually long hours of slow cooked dal Raisina, I started having an itch to cook the same for at least few hours to find out the difference between slow cooking & pressure cooking.

Dal Raisina is a lentil curry with slimy black gram, buttery rajma beans & creamy chickpeas but I cooked black gram & chickpeas in little ghee for 6 hours and added a taste of light whipping cream at the end to prevent getting curdled. I find the texture & aroma of slow cooked dal far superior than the pressure cooked dal. It tastes divine when served with chappathi and jeera rice. Now the recipe for Dal Raisina:

Cooking time: 6 hours

Yields: 400 ml

Ingredients:

Ghee 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds1 tsp
Bay leaf1
Cardamom2
Green chilli1
Onion2
Red chilli powder3/4 tbsp
Coriander seeds powder1 tsp
Turmeric powder1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder1/2 tsp
Ginger 1 and 1/2″
Garlic1 small bulb
Tomatoes3
Split black gram 1/4 cup
Split chickpeas 1/4 cup
Dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)1 tsp
Fresh cream1 tbsp
Fresh coriander leaves (chopped)as needed
Salt1 tsp
Water2.5 Litres

Mise en place:

  • Wash the lentils and soak for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile we can prepare the ginger-garlic paste & tomato puree and keep them ready.
  • Then slit the green chilli, chop the onions finely and leave aside.

Dal Raisina making:

  • Heat a large heavy bottom cooking pot with ghee in low flame.
  • Add bay leaf, cardamom & cumin seeds.
  • When their aroma is released add slit green chilli & chopped onion.
  • Increase the heat to medium and saute till onions turn translucent.
  • Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander seeds powder & garam masala powder and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Now add ginger garlic paste followed by tomato puree and saute until incorporated.
  • Now pour water into the pot and increase the heat to high.
  • When the water begins to boil, add soaked lentils into the pot.
  • Reduce the flame to low.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and simmer until lentils become soft & tender.
  • When the lentils are cooked add salt & dried fenugreek leaves.
  • Continue cooking in low flame until the dal mixture reaches the desired consistency
  • Pour fresh cream and sprinkle chopped coriander leaves into the dal.
  • Mix well and simmer for few minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Serve hot with any rice dish and/or flat breads.
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103 Comments Add yours

  1. Haven’t heard about Dhal raisina before, Megala… Nice to read your write up about how this is prepared in Rashtrapati Bhavan. I am dumbstruck after reading that it has been cokked for 48 hrs. Lovely recipe…

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, I also felt so, and I got motivated to try my hand in this recipe. πŸ™‚
      Thank you.

  2. Slow-cooking is truly an art, worth the waitπŸ™‚

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, it is really worth the wait. πŸ™‚ Thanks much.

      1. You’re welcome MegalaπŸ™‚

  3. iScriblr says:

    Wow, looks yummylicious!😍😍

    1. iScriblr says:

      Saving this up for future use!πŸ‘Œ

      1. Megala says:

        Thank you! πŸ™‚

  4. I’m sure it’s yummy πŸ™‚

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, it surely is. πŸ™‚ Thanks much.

  5. Looks so good and I love how you were inspired by reading about that special meal.

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you!

  6. Wow! The daal looks too delicious!

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you!

  7. This looks tasty and healthy, you are excellent to try for slow cooking.

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks much, Subbashini!

  8. Lady Oscar says:

    Exactly, slow cooking has not been applied for a long time nowadays. In America, they use slow cookers to make “slow cooking.” They simply plug it in, and put all ingredients in the cooker, and let it cook there all day until they come home from work.

    However, I remember that my grand mom used to cook some delicious soups and stews for hours! I stayed in the kitchen with her, and played some little games and waited for hours for the soup being ready. It is a nice childhood memory!

    Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe, Megala. (I am studying the ingredients now. ^^)

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, slow cooker would be a wonderful addition into our kitchens.
      By the way, it is really a great experience that everyone of us enjoyed watching our favorite food being cooked at home during our childhood days. Thanks for taking me to those beautiful moments. πŸ™‚
      Have a nice week ahead!

  9. juliarecipes says:

    Very tasty dish Megala, I love the way it’s prepared all the flavors combined and longer cooking process makes magic πŸ™‚ Yum.

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, indeed! πŸ™‚ Thank you so much.

  10. Lovely Megala. Slow cooking brings out the real flavours of the dish. Unfortunately today people want everything to be done instantly.

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, I have to admit that I have been the one among them, and this is my first attempt to prepare a slow-cooked curry. I think a slow cooker will find a place in my kitchen soon. πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much.

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