Phali Wali Dal: The Healthy And Yummy Drumstick Dal
Image Credit: Drumstick Dal

Drumsticks have much more utility than just being a characteristic ingredient of a typical South Indian sambar, provided you open your eyes and explore freely the various possibilities. Just like Phali Wali Dal or Drumstick Dal that is associated with Hyderabad popularly. The ingredients of this recipe will make one more interested in it when one knows that three types of lentils, masoor, moong and toor dal go into making this eclectic lentil dish. All these lentils after being cooked halfway along with tomatoes and onions are fused with nicely roasted powdered spices and ginger-garlic and chilli paste, which intensify the flavours and taste in this dal. Drumsticks introduced into the lentils are cooked until they get steeped in the flavours of the curry along with tamarind pulp. 

Drumstick, also popularly known as moringa, is a drought-resistant plant that grows rapidly and it belongs to the Indian subcontinent. A fact to feel proud of here is that India is the largest producer of moringa with about 2.2 million tonnes of this vegetable produced annually. This plant has been an integral part of the Indian diet for centuries, although the West has recently woken up to its wondrous benefits and has hailed it as a superfood. 

No wonder, moringa is also called the ‘tree of life’, or the magic tree, with numerous benefits right from curing diseases including diabetes and purifying water to being super nutritious.

Here’s the recipe for Phali Wali Dal.

Preparation time: 40 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Servings: 2

Drumstick Dal 



    4 tbsps red lentils or masoor dal

    4 tbsps pigeon pea lentil or toor dal

    4 tbsps yellow split pigeon pea lentil or moong dal

    ½ cup drumsticks (cut into halves)

    2 tbsps tamarind pulp

    1 tsp coriander powder

    1 tsp cumin powder

    10-12 curry leaves

    1 tsp mustard seeds

    1 tsp ginger-garlic paste

    ½ tsp turmeric powder

    ½ tsp garam masala powder

    1 tsp red chilli powder

    1 onion (sliced)

    1 medium tomato (chopped)

    Salt, to taste

    2 tbsps chopped coriander

    2-3 tbsps oil


    Cook all the pulses in 1 ½ cup of water with onions and tomatoes in a pressure cooker for up to 4-5 whistles. 

    Mash the pulses a bit after they are cooked.

    In another pan, heat oil, add garlic-ginger paste and saute for a few seconds, add all the powdered spices and stir for 1-2 minutes.

    Then, add the pulses and mix with the spices.

    Then add the drumsticks and add 1-1 ½ cup of water, and let it come to a boil.

    Cover it to cook for 15-20 minutes on low-medium heat. 

    Adjust the consistency of the pulses after 15 minutes, and check if the drumsticks are cooked.

    Then, add the tamarind pulp to the pulses and mix and mix well.

    Prepare the tadka by heating cumin seeds, curry leaves and red chilli powder and when it sputters and turns aromatic, splash it into the drumstick dal.

Points to remember:

    When cooking pulses in the cooker, make sure that they are 60% cooked and not completely cooked, as a lot of cooking will happen while preparing the curry. 

    When the pulses turn too thick in the preparation of gravy, loosen and dilute it a bit by adding little water. 

    The spiciness, sourness, and saltiness can be altered, according to one’s choice.