Amritsari Dal: The 16th Century Marvel That We Can’t Get Over
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Imagine an Indian kitchen, and one of the first ingredients that might come to mind is the variety of dals stocked on the shelves or in the pantry. An Indian meal is never complete without a type of dal; it is, after all, one of the most accessible foods across the country. Furthermore, dal provides all essential nutrients for our meals and is one of the most wholesome meals in and of itself. But do you know what the best part is? Dal’s versatility! There is a whole range of recipes associated with the humble dal, be it a simple khichdi or soup or the rich and creamy dal makhani. There is a dal-based dish to satisfy every palate. Most of all, you’ll find a unique dal recipe in every region of the country. Amritsari dal, a popular Punjabi dish that has had foodies slurping for centuries, is one such dish.

As the name suggests, Amritsari dal is a Punjabi dish that has its roots in the city of Amritsar and dates all the way back to the 16th century. Amritsar is a popular city in Punjab, known for the heavenly Golden Temple. The cuisine of the city is another popular aspect that reflects the region's rich cultural and religious heritage. Legend has it that the Amritsari dal traces back to the 16th century, when the dal became quite popular among the people of the region, and they named it after the city of Amritsar. Also called langar wali dal, this dal is widely prepared during Guru Nanak Jayanti.

Traditionally made with urad dal and chana dal that are soaked overnight and slow-cooked with ginger, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and a blend of spices, the dal has a rich and creamy texture. Amritsari dal has a light smokey flavour as well, which is achieved by adding a piece of charcoal right before serving it hot. While the dal has evolved over time, with different people adding their own unique twists and spins to the dish, the basic elements of Amritsari dal have always remained the same. The dal is the best accompaniment to tandoori roti, naan, jeera rice, and a tall glass of lassi (or chaas) for a wholesome meal.

How Do You Prepare Amritsari Dal?


  • 1 cup Urad dal  
  • 1 cup Chana dal  
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (roughly chopped)
  • 1 large onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1 medium tomato (roughly chopped)
  • 2 tbsp Ghee  
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Haldi
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt according to taste


  • First, add water to a pressure cooker and soak the dals in it. To this, add half of the ginger and garlic, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder.
  • Add a bay leaf and let this pressure cook for 3–4 whistles. While the dal cooks, prepare the tadka in another pan.
  • Heat the ghee and some oil, add the cumin seeds and let them sputter. Along with the onions and tomatoes, add the remaining ginger and garlic.
  • Once the ingredients turn a little soft, add the dry spices and salt and mix well. Add the cooked dal and let this boil for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  • Once done, garnish with loads of chopped coriander and some ghee. Serve hot.