A soupy dhal with powerful blends of spices and dhokli - small pieces of fresh turmeric and chilli dough that simmer in the dhal.






Skill level

Average: 5 (3 votes)


  • 100 g (½ cup) toor dal
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp ghee, plus extra to serve
  • 20 g jaggery
  • 3 kokum, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • lemon wedges and coriander sprigs, to serve

Dry spice mix 1

  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 fenugreek seeds
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 dried red chillies

Dry spice mix 2

  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 3 pinches asafoetida (hing)

Dry spice mix 3

  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder


  • 100 g atta flour
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • vegetable oil, for deep - frying (optional)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


This recipe needs to be started one day in advance.

  1. Place the toor dal in a large bowl, cover with plenty of cold water and leave to soak overnight.
  2. Drain the dal and place in a pressure cooker or saucepan with enough cold water to cover the dal by about 5 cm. Add the turmeric and a good pinch of salt. Cook for 10 minutes in the pressure cooker or simmer for 30 minutes on the stovetop until tender. Once cooked, whisk the dal well to break up any lumps.
  3. Meanwhile, for the spice mixes, combine all the ingredients for each mix in a small bowl.
  4. Place the ghee in a large heavy–based saucepan over medium–high heat. When hot, add dry spice mix 1 and when the mustard seeds start popping, add dry spice mix 2, then immediately add dry spice mix 3 and stir to combine. Add 1 litre of water and season to taste. Add the cooked toor dal, jaggery and soaked kokum and simmer gently while you make the dhokli.
  5. For the dhokli, place the flour, spices, oil, a pinch of salt and enough cold water stir to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured bench and knead for 3 minutes or until the dough comes together in a smooth ball.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface until very thin. Cut into rough squares about 5 cm.
  6. Add the dough pieces to the simmering dal and simmer for a few minutes or until the dough is cooked and tender. You can also deep-fry some of the squares in vegetable oil and serve on top of the dal if you prefer. Top with a small dollop of ghee and the coriander and serve with lemon wedges.


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Photography by Andrew Dorn.