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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107 Comments Add yours

  1. Lakshmi Bhat says:

    Thank you for the recipe, I will definitely try it. But not slow cooking šŸ˜Š. The amount of gas wasted !!

    1. Megala says:

      Of course we all don’t like to waste the fuel and hence I feel guilty to prepare basundi, milk khoya, or other milk pudding for several hours on stove top. But while making this curry I did not feel guilty because slow cooked dal not only pleases the palate but slow cooking minimizes the loss of nutrients & also makes the food easily digestible particularly lentils & legumes.
      Thank you.

  2. That looks so delicious!!!

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you!

  3. Savvy Raj says:

    Lovely presentation as always!

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks!

  4. Savvy Raj says:

    Great share Megala.

  5. nancyc says:

    I’m sure this is delicious, with all those good, healthy ingredients!

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, thank you!

  6. I read about Dal Raisina being served to the Prime Minister recently, and was wondering about it. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! šŸ™‚ I’ll surely be trying this out some time soon.

    1. Megala says:

      My pleasure! šŸ™‚ Thank you!

  7. As always Superb šŸ‘ŒšŸ‘Œ

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks much.

  8. dpranita583 says:

    My favorite, so nice you have made.

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you.

  9. Dreamtemples says:

    I too was fascinated when I read about Dal Raisina which was served for dinner after the PM’s oath taking ceremony. Kudos to you for recreating this dish!

    1. Megala says:

      Nice to know that you’ve also felt the same. šŸ™‚ Thank you!

  10. The fresh cream must make this amazing! It looks like so much delicious flavor!

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, fresh cream makes this dish rich & creamy. Thank you!

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