Indrahar: This Tempting Dal From MP Comes With Dal Cakes

In addition to being one of the largest states of India, Madhya Pradesh is also a region steeped in History. From Mauryas, Mughals To Malwas, Madhya Pradesh has witnessed many glorious cultural revolutions. On my trip to Indore recently, I learned about the city’s fascination with ‘Bhutte Ki Khees’ a delicacy made with mashed corn. A crop that is not even native to the land. That’s right, corns belong to America and they arrived in India somewhere in the 16th century, but that is how advanced Madhya Pradesh has been throughout history. Despite being landlocked, the best of crops, seeds, spices would arrive here via trade. However, that does not mean that Madhya Pradesh does not know how to value local, indigenous produce. A variety of lentils can be seen in the region’s robust and varied cuisine. You may have already heard of Dal Bafla, a central Indian cousin of Rajasthani Dal Baati Churma, but have you heard of Indrahar?

A Medley Of Dals

The word 'Indrahar' is made of two words, 'Indra' and 'aahaar', which refers to the food of Lord Indra. Lord Indra was the leader of the Devas in heaven. Since he is also the lord of rain, he was revered greatly by the agrarian community of India. Indrahar, truly celebrates the best of farm produce. About 4-5 varieties of lentils like moong, urad, arhar and chana are blended together in a fine paste, they are then spread out in a deep dish or a tray and steamed or fried. Rectangular cakes are cut from this mixed dal mixture and slathered over with a tangy kadhi made with yogurt and gram flour. The Kadhi, is made in regular fashion, where besan is stirred sedulously with curd, until it becomes a thick sauce with hints of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, ginger and garlic. The dish is garnished with heaps of fresh coriander leaves.  

Indrahar is one of the most beloved delicacies of Bagelkhand, a region in Madhya Pradesh that is known for its mountainous terrain and wildlife. The delicacy is unique to Madhya Pradesh and is difficult to find in other parts of the country. It is not only easy to make but also very healthy. The deep-fried pakodas are replaced with steamed cakes made of not one, or two but multiple varieties of dal. If you are looking for plant-based sources of protein in a desi way, recipes like Indrahar fit the bill and how.  

We also have a detailed recipe of Indrahar, if you are looking for a sumptuous veg meal option, then look no further. Try this recipe and let us know how you liked it. Do not forget to share pictures.