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The ‘Sultani Dal’ is a rich variation of Arhar, concocted by a very famous rakabdar of Lucknow, Pir Ali, fit to be served on the dastarkhwan of the kings.


Arhar dal                             1/2kg. 

Milk                                        500 ml

Cream or balai                       125 gms

Curd                                        250 gms

Garlic                                      8 cloves

Cumin                                     1 tbsp

Saffron                                    1 tsp

Chilli powder                          ¼ tsp

Salt                                          to taste

Pure ghee                               25 gms

Green chillies                         2

Betel leaf                                1

Live charcoal                          1 piece           

Cardamoms                            10

Mint leaves                            few sprigs

Cloves                                     6


Pick, wash and soak the dal for 10 minutes. Strain the milk, cream and curd through a muslin and keep in a cool place. Grind the cloves and cardamoms to a paste. Finely chop the green chillies and mint leaves. Cut fine slivers of garlic for baghar. 

In a ‘patili’ or a saucepan boil the dal with salt, chilli powder and approximately 4-5 cups of water. (The quantity of water should be such that there is no surplus of it after the dal is done). Cover and cook on slow flame till the grains are done. Drain off surplus water. Next, mash the dal thoroughly with a heavy ladle to a smooth consistency. Place a betel leaf on the dal and put a small piece of live charcoal on it. Pour one teaspoon of pure ghee and immediately cover and keep for 10 minutes for dhungar. Add the strained cream mixture and the clove-cardamom paste and saffron dissolved in a tablespoon of hot milk and blend well. Then cover and simmer on a very slow flame for 5 minutes or to desired consistency. For the ‘baghar’, heat the remaining ghee in a small metal bowl or a ladle, add the cumin seeds and chopped garlic. As it turns to a pink colour, immerse in the utensil containing the dal and cover immediately. Stir lightly and serve hot garnished with the chopped green chillies and mint leaves. 

Note: For non-vegetarians dal can be enriched with mutton stock. In that case milk can be deleted from the cream mixture.