If you had ever thought about trekking the Himalayas and went through some reading, you would have surely come across what you can eat as well. If the travel brochure or trekking clubs mentioned dal bhat, they are absolutely correct. Dal bhat and Maggi instant noodles are the ones that are going to keep you strong and warm to take the challenge.
What is dal bhat?
Served for a homestyle Nepali lunch or dinner dal bhat is the staple rice and lentil combo platter from Nepali cuisine. Dal as in the cooked and tempered lentils and bhat is steamed rice. Along with a mixed vegetable dry sabzi (tarkari)and achar, the platter is one of the most comforting vegetarian meals ever. This is the combo that provides the carbs and proteins that you need to keep your strength during these treks. The Nepali lunch platter is very similar to the Indian dal chawal platter.
A huge variety of lentils can be made into a dal. The skinned bean cotyledons are the dals. Popularly the split red lentils (masoor), the moong dal or the tur dal are the ones that make this non-spicy lentil soup. Usually, pressure cooked (or cook it in the instant pot) the dal has a few whole aromatic spices and salt added to them. Literally, this is a basic lentil soup that is filling and a good vegetarian protein option. There are a few different dal recipe here on this blog apart from this one.
Spinach and split peas dal – An easy stove top combo with minimal spices.
Dal tadka – A basic Punjabi restaurant-style yellow dal preparation
Srilankan parippu curry – A simple SriLankan dal preparation
Moong dal khilma – Whole green gram recipe with Rajasthani spices.
Parippu kootu – South Indian style dal with coconut masala
Bhat is nothing but fluffy steamed rice. Preferably white rice is used for dal bhat. Jeera maseeno or varieties of basmati are chosen for the soft steamed rice portion. Steamed rice is the staple grain among Nepali meals and holds an equal place in a thali even if served with breads.
Tarkari and Achar
The stir-fried vegetables that are often served with the simple dal bhat are tarkari. Gently spiced this sauteed vegetable mix, add the freshness and texture to the simple meal. The achar or pickle on the side add flavour to the basic dal bhat. Most Nepali pickles are not super fiery like the South Indian ones but lactofermented thereby adding good gut bacteria. On this thali we have eggplant potato tarkari and Karko ko achar. You can add papad to add a crispy element to this platter.
The recipe for the dal and bhat are in this recipe card. Pin directly from the card to use for the future.
- Pressure cooker
For the dal
- 1 cup Moong dal lentils
- 3 cups drinking water
- 1 tsp cooking oil Any neutral oil works here.
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp Nigella seeds
- 1-2 dry red chillies
- 1/4 cup red onion chopped fine
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger root
- 2 cloves garlic
For the bhat ( steamed rice)
- 1 cup Raw rice I have used basmati
- 2 cups drinking water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Wash and soak the dal with the water.
- Set the instant pot at saute mode ( or saute in the pressure cooker)
- Add the oil, cuin seeds and nigella ( kalonji) seeds
- As the cumin seeds splutter, add the red chillies, the chopped onions, garlic and ginger and let them saute.
- When the onions turn translucent, add the soaked dal with the water.
- Add salt.
- turn the cooking mode to pressure cook for 15 minutes, cover and cook.
- Let the pressure release naturally.
- Once the pressure is released, open the pressure pan and mash the dal.
- The dal is now ready to serve.
- Wash and soak the rice with 2 cups of water.
- After 10 minutes, cook the rice with the same water and salt.
- You can pressure cook it or set the instant pot to cook the rice.
- Let the pressure release naturally and then open and fluff the rice.
To assemble the platter.
- Scoop the dal into a bowl.
- place the rice in another bowl and gently press it into the bowl.
- Now invert the bowl onto one side of the plate and tap gently to release the rice.
- Place the dal bowl on another side of the platter.
- Place the tarkari and achar on the plate and the meal is ready to serve.
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The A_Z recipe challenge group for food bloggers is currently doing the ingredients in Hindi. this month it is D for Dal, so here is a Nepali dal bhat platter to add to this challenge.
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