Pahari Gahat ki dal (Horse gram dal)

Pahari Gahat ki dal (Horse gram dal)

On my visit to the Garhwal Himalayas in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, my friend’s cook introduced me to a local lentil, a variety of horse gram. The local residents make this using a herb that grows in the region, jambu, and a native spice called gandherni.

I could not get it where we were staying, however, as it was remote with only a tiny shop selling essentials at the foot of the mountain. So I decided to try to cook it with the ingredients available in my friend’s kitchen. It turned out delicious with a lovely, earthy taste.


Gahat ki dal 1 cup, soaked for two hours

Turmeric 1 tsp

Garlic 10 cloves, chopped

Ginger 1” piece, chopped

Onion 1 large, sliced

Tomato 1 large, chopped

Coriander powder 1/2 tsp

Red chilli powder 1 tbsp

Garam masala 1 tsp

Green chillies 3, sliced

Coriander leaves 1 bunch, chopped

Tomato 1 small, sliced

Salt to taste

Mustard oil 1 tbsp

Cumin seeds 1 tsp


Wash and steam the dal with the turmeric in a pressure cooker.

Heat the mustard oil in a wok and add the cumin seeds. When they stop sputtering, add the garlic. Sauté for two minutes.

Add the ginger and sauté for 1 minute.

Add the sliced onion and sauté till they turn translucent.

Add the tomatoes and cook till they become soft.

Add the cooked dal.

Add the coriander powder, red chilli powder and salt.

Add 1/2 cup water and cook covered for 10 minutes on a low flame.

Add the garam masala and cook for another five minutes.

Serve hot, garnished with green chillies, coriander leaves and tomatoes.