If you’ve ever been to Hyderabad, you must have relished a plate of delicious Hyderabadi biryani and luscious kebabs. But another dish that adds to the culinary culture of Hyderabad is cooked with meat and lentils. Popularly called Mutton Dalcha, this dish is a moreish concoction of lentils and meat cooked in a spicy gravy. Packed with essential nutrients like protein, carbohydrates and fiber, Mutton Dalcha is a perfect accompaniment of ghee rice or parotta. It's quite obvious that the place famous for this dish is the place of its origin. With its roots in Hyderabad, Mutton Dalcha is an amalgam of Indian and Mughlai cuisine.

 

Mutton Dalcha traces its roots back to medieval times when the Muslim rulers decided to explore Indian cuisine. The Muslim emperors especially from parts of Central Asia wanted to incorporate their cuisine into the regional Indian cuisine. Being ardent meat lovers, they modified Indian vegetarian recipes to satisfy their palate. One of their famous fusion dishes was Mutton Dalcha. The royal cooks of the Muslim rulers were fascinated by the tangy lentil soup of South India- Sambhar and decided to add meat to it to make it suitable for the taste buds of the Muslim rulers. Although the rulers were familiar with Masoor Dal and Chana Dal, the flavour profile of Sambar is what appealed to them. 

Usually pressure-cooked, Mutton Dalcha is cooked using typical Indian spices. To enhance the tangy flavour, either raw mango or a spoon of lime juice is added to the dish. Like Biryani, it is garnished with deep-fried onions and a drizzle of desi ghee. Traditionally, Mutton Dalcha is eaten with Biryani or ghee rice. You can have it with roti, parotta or pulao. If you are a vegetarian, you can replace the mutton with brinjals or with any other vegetable of your choice. Serve the dish with a sprinkle of garam masala to pack in more flavours into it.