Simmered until tender and pressed through a strainer for a velvety-smooth texture, this turmeric-tinted dal is deliberately plain. In Parsi cuisine, it is sometimes used to thicken other dishes or served accompanied by sides like Prawn Patio. When served spooned over white rice, the butter and sugar are essential seasonings. Unsoaked pigeon peas may be prepared through step 2 in a pressure cooker.

March 2021


Credit: Eva Kolenko

Recipe Summary test

30 mins
1 hr 30 mins
8 to 10


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Place toor dal in a large bowl; add water to cover by 1 inch. Soak at room temperature 8 to 12 hours.

  • Drain soaked dal. Combine dal, 7 cups water, and 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium-low, stirring occasionally to prevent dal from boiling over or burning on the bottom, until dal is tender and beginning to break apart, 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Transfer dal to a large bowl; rinse and dry Dutch oven.

  • Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to Dutch oven. Using the back of a spoon, press dal through a fine wire-mesh strainer into Dutch oven. Add butter, turmeric, and garlic. Cook over medium-low, stirring often, until butter melts and mixture is thick and velvety but still pourable, 10 to 20 minutes. If dal mixture seems too thick, gradually add remaining 1/2 cup water as needed. Stir in salt.

  • Spoon dal over rice; top with butter, and sprinkle with sugar.  

Make Ahead

Dhan dar can be made up to 2 days ahead and chilled. Reheat slowly, adding water as needed.


Find toor dal at Indian grocery stores or online.