Dali Thoy: The Humble Dal With A Twist of Coastal Spices

The most humble and ultimate comfort cuisine of Indian households is a plate of dal chawal accompanied by a pickle or a masala omelet. And this food language remains universal throughout the country. However, the preparation of this comfort dal changes from region to region. While in the north a hefty amount of onions and tomatoes are used to make it appealing. Down south and along the Konkan region, a dal is made in the purest form. Known as Dali Thoy or Bele Tovve, it is a simple and traditional recipe made in the Konkani households. All it requires is green chillies, a few curry leaves, mustard seeds and a hot piping bowl of Dali Thoy is ready.

Tracing the origin of this humble dal to India

Though termed as dal that can be served with rice, Dali Thoy is basically categorized as a soup that is too healthy. Made using split yellow lentils, Dali Thoy is a staple in the Malvani cuisine of the Konkan region. In fact, the word dāl is derived from the Sanskrit verbal root dal which means to split.

As per various findings, it is estimated that between 5000 and 4000 BC the cultivation of lentils moved eastwards to Georgia. From there it finally made inroads in India and Pakistan around 2000 BC.

If one were to go through the epic mythological books, there are mentions of dal being made in the Mahabharata. The story goes that while hiding in disguise as a cook in King Virat's kitchen, Bhim created the first panchratna dal. The dal was prepared by slow-cooking the mix of five dals in an earthen pot and garnishing it with a generous dollop of ghee.


  1. ½ cup Tuvar Dal
  2. ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
  3. 3 tsp Oil
  4. 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  5. 2 dried Red Chillies
  6. 1 spring of Curry Leaves
  7. 5 sliced Green chilles
  8. ¼ tsp Hing
  9. Salt
  10. Water


  1. Rinse the dal properly and transfer it to the pressure cooker. Add turmeric powder, one tablespoon of oil and cook it for about two-three whistles.
  2. Transfer it to a pan over medium heat. Add salt and let it come to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, in a pan over medium heat add two tablespoons of oil. To this add dried red chillies, curry leaves, and mustard seeds. Let it fry until the seeds splutter. Then add the green chillies and let them fry for a few seconds. Then add the hing.
  4. Now pour the oil over the boiling dal. Give it a good mix and let the dal boil for about five to eight minutes. Remember to keep stirring so that it doesn’t stick at the bottom. Remove from heat and serve.

On days when there is no such desire to cook elaborate meals, this simple preparation of dal will come to the rescue. It is easy and can be made within a few minutes. This Dali Thoy is best relished with rice and a serving of pickles. While it remains spicy it is the heat from plant-based ingredients that makes it good for the gut as well.