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Friday, 31 May 2019

Odia Dalma

Dalma is a traditional dish from Indian state of Odisha. It is a very healthy preparation made by cooking mixed vegetables with lentils. Dalma is also a part of Chappan bhog offered in the Puri Jagganath Temple. This Dalma is cooked with tuvar dal (split pigeon pea) and has flavors coming from panch phoran tempering in ghee and the spicy seasoning of roasted cumin and red chili powder. This is an onion garlic free recipe which is very simple to cook. Dalma served with steamed rice topped with dollop of ghee is a soulful and comfort meal in every Odia household. 

Vegetables like pumpkin, raw papaya, potato, drumstick, eggplant ,beans,  raw banana etc are cooked with tuvar/ arahar dal ( split pigeon pea) to make dalma. The cooked dal and veggies are then tempered with panch phoran (5 spice mix) in ghee along with asafoetida (hing) and red chilies. A special spicy seasoning made with roasted cumin and red chili powder is also added to dalma which gives it is characteristic flavor. Finally dalma is garnished with coconut shavings and fresh coriander leaves and served with steamed rice. Dalma may sound like south Indian sambar but taste wise it is very different. Dalma is not tangy and is thick in consistency when compared with Sambar. 

Until a couple of years ago, i hardly knew anything about Odia Cuisine. Thanks to my blogging journey, during which i came across many fellow bloggers who belong to Odisha and through their blogs I came to know about this regional Indian Cuisine. Since then I have cooked many Odia dishes and gradually fell in love with the humble and delectable food of Odhisha. I wish to personally visit this beautiful state sometime and taste its authentic food , especially the temple food served to Lord Jaganatha. 

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Food of Odia cuisine is simple yet flavorful. It uses less oil and is less spicy when compared to other regional Indian Cuisines. Mustard oil is the cooking medium for most of the dishes, but the temple food is cooked in ghee (made of cow's milk). Most of the sweet dishes and desserts are chhena ( crumbled cottage cheese) based. Rice is the staple food of this region and curd is used in many dishes. Panch Phoran ( a special blend 5 spice mix) is widely used for flavouring the dals and curries of this cuisine. Temples of this region make offerings to the presiding deities. The prasada of the Jagannath Temple of puri is well known as is referred to as Maha Prasad, meaning greatest of all prasads. It comprises of 56 dishes , so it is called Chappan Bhoga. 

By now, regular readers of this blog must have guessed that it is month end and the time when i post regional Indian recipe for the Facebook Group Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge which i am a part of. This month we were on our virtual trip to Indian State of Odhisha. My partner for this month was Pavani Gunikuntla who blogs at Pavaniskitchen.com . Do check out her blog for some wonderful recipes. Pavani gave me ginger and panch phoran as my secret ingredients and i cooked this delicious and wholesome Dalma using them . In return , I gave her garlic and carom seeds and she cooked Piaji using the two secret ingredients. 

                                                Ssshhh Cooking Secretly

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4

  • 3/4 cup split pigeon pea / tuvar dal
  • 1/4 cup peeled and diced pumpkin
  • 1 raw banana, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium sized potato diced
  • 2 small eggplants, chopped
  • 3-4 french beans, cut into 2 inch size
  • 2 drumsticks, peeled and cut 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 2 teaspoon ghee
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon panch phoran / 5 spice mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin and red chili powder*
  • 1 teaspoon coconut shavings / desiccated coconut for garnishing
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
*Ingredients for the cumin red chili spice mix
  • 2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 dried red chilies
  1. Rinse the dal and soak it in water for 30 minutes. This soaking is optional, but i recommend it as it saves the cooking time. While the dal is soaking, chop the veggies and keep ready.

2. Transfer the soaked dal along with chopped veggies to a pressure cooker. Add a bay leaf, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, turmeric powder and 2 cups water. Cover it with the lid and pressure cook for 2 whistles on medium heat.

3. While the dal and veggies are getting cooked we will prepare the spice mix. For that in a pan dry roast the cumin seeds. Once they are golden in color add the dried red chilies and roast everything well for 1-2 minutes. Keep the flame on low and keep stirring, to ensure the cumin seeds and chilies do not burn. Allow the spices to cook down. Now grind them in a grinder jar to a coarse powder. we will use 1 teaspoon of this spice mix in this dalma. Keep the remaining refrigerated in air tight container and use in curries and dal as required.

4. Open the pressure cooker once all the pressure has been released. The dal should be well cooked but veggies should not be mushy and should hold their shape. Add up to 1 cup water if you feel the dal is dry.

5. Now heat ghee in a pan. Add asfoetida / hing to it followed by panch phoran and broken red chilies. Allow the spices to sizzle in ghee for few seconds. Now add the cooked dal and vegetables to this tempering. Add salt to taste and allow the dalma to boil for about 4-5 minutes.

6. Next add the roasted cumin and red chili powder followed by coconut and coriander leaves. Give a good stir and put off the flame.

7. Serve the delicious dalma with steamed rice topped with dollop of ghee .


Recipe Notes:
  • I have roughly adapted the recipe from here.
  • The more the vegetables you add, the dalma becomes wholesome and delicious. But if you do not find all the vegetables, you can still make dalma with whatever vegetables you have. 
  • The original recipe calls for addition of tomato, i have not added.
  • Traditionally coconut shavings are used for garnishing, i have added desiccated coconut instead.
  • Do not skip the roasted red chilies and cumin  powder seasoning as it adds to the characteristic flavor of dalma.
  • Panch phoran is the special blend of 5 spice mix used in Odia Cusine. It has equal quantities of Cumin seeds(jeera), Mustard Seeds(rai), Fennel Seeds(saunf), Fenugreek Seeds(methi dana) and Onion seeds / Nigella (Kalonji)
If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
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  1. Dalma looks very tempting, it's giving divine feel as you presented in a pot same as in Jaganath temples. Loved its tempering and the way you explained it with step by step pics. Divine share 👌

    1. Thank you Aruna. I really wish I visit Jannath temple in Puri someday and taste the divine Prasad. I am glad you could relate my post to it.

  2. Lovely recipe, Poonam, and beautiful presentation of the dish! :)

    My Odia help often prepares Dalma, and we all love it at home. Such a simple recipe this is, yet so flavourful and nutritious. Your Dalma looks positively tempting!

    1. Thank you so much Priya. I tried dalma for the first time but we all loved it to the core and now this Odia dish is going to make frequent appearance in my kitchen. Thank you.

  3. Yummy recipe. Such a healthy and comfort dish. Your version of Dalma looks super tempting.. Wish to taste some now.

  4. I had shortlisted this one to make, but did not. Glad I did not, as now I have one fool proof recipe of yours to make. Well explained and deliciously done.

  5. Delicious Dalma.. It is amazing how each state has a distinct and varied flavours of the simple and huble dal.

  6. Dalma looks so inviting and yummy. Very healthy with lot of vegetables. My first choice was dalma when I read about this unique dish from Orissa.

  7. Dalma with steaming hot rice, ghee and a tarkari to accompany, this is my idea of comfort food. I love the images in the recipe, so bright and clear!

  8. Dalma looks absolutely delicious and healthy with lot of veggies. Would love to pair with steamed rice and ghee.

  9. I was introduced to Dalma by a very close friend about 10 years back...since then it is a staple in my house. Quick to make and goes so well with rice

  10. Dalma looks super tempting Poonam. I also make it often. Love the taste. Loved your presentation and the pot. I can imagine the divine taste of maha prasad.

  11. Love the images you have created and the step by step Poonam. Such beautiful ones.
    The medley of veggies and the favour was loved by my family. glad to see your take on it as well.

  12. I've made dalma several times and love it. What I like besides the flavor is that its so easy to make. My family loves it with rice.Love the clicks Poonam.

  13. so healthy and nutritious dish it is !! One of our most comfort side dish which I can pair with roti, paratha or even rice ;)