Veg Dalcha: A Delicious Hyderabadi-Style Dal
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Dalcha is a tasty and nutritious dish made from lentils and lauki.  It is typically prepared with either meat or veggies or sometimes both. This Hyderabadi Dalcha is a simple and filling vegetarian stew from the Nizam's Cuisine that is typically served with biryani. This simple stew is a good one to try whether you serve it with dinner or eat it on its own. Dalcha is not sambhar, nor is it a regular dal or kurma. It is unique and wonderful because of the spices and seasonings. Serve dalcha with ridge gourd rice, jeera rice, bagara rice, or any biryani, such as rice with raw jackfruit.

The addition of tamarind pulp during the preparation of the meal gives dalcha a sour flavour as well. Hyderabadi khatti dal or dalcha is another Hyderabadi dal that is incomplete without the addition of tamarind. The main component in this recipe is tamarind pulp because the dish lacks flavour without the tart tamarind pulp. It is cooked on occasion and serves as a delicious side dish with special rice specialities.


  • 1½ to 2 cups of lauki (chopped) 
  • ¼ cup of chana dal 
  • 1 medium onion (diced finely) 
  • 2 medium tomatoes (diced finely) 
  • 1-inch tamarind
  • 1 green chilli (chopped) 
  • 1-inch ginger (finely chopped) 
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds 
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder 
  • ¼ tsp red chilli powder 
  • 12 tsp garam masala 
  • 1 sprinkle asafoetida (optional) 
  • ½ to ¾ cups water 
  • 1½ to 2 tbsps ghee or oil 
  • 1 to 1½ tbsp coriander leaves (finely chopped) 
  • Salt, as needed


For soaking the dal:

  • Wash and rinse the chana dal a few times with fresh water. 
  • After that, let the chana dal soak in fresh water for at least 30 to 45 minutes. 
  • Drain the chana dal and set it aside.

For making the dalcha: 

  • Heat the oil in a pressure cooker. 
  • Toast the cumin, add the onions and cook them while tossing frequently until they are translucent.
  • Add and sauté the ginger and green chilies for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Add all of the dry spice powders now, along with the tomatoes. 
  • Cook the tomatoes until they are tender. Stir continuously.
  • The onion-tomato masala should begin to release oil.
  • The chana dal has to be added, and it has to be stirred. 
  • Add the chopped lauki and tamarind and season with salt to taste. 
  • Add water and stir.
  • Pressure cook on high heat for 4 to 5 whistles with the lid on.
  • If the lauki has a lot of liquid, simmer without a lid to dry the liquids out.
  • The gravy for the dalcha is medium in consistency.
  • Remove the cover only once the pressure gradually reduces, and toss in the chopped coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with rotis or rice.