Dal Raisina

Raisina hills is the prominent landmark in India where our President’s housing estate (Rashtrapathi Bhavan), Parliament house, Prime Minister’s office and other government offices are situated. Dal Raisina is the signature dish prepared by the elite chefs in the Rashtrapathi Bhavan kitchen specially for VIPs & foreign dignitaries. Dal Raisina is a sumptuous lentil curry prepared by brewing assorted lentils & aromatic spices in lavish amounts of butter & heavy cream in slow fire for long hours. Recently it was cooked for unprecedented 48 long hours specially for the guests present during the swearing-in ceremony of our Prime Minster and his cabinet of ministers held at Rashtrapathi Bhavan.

Dal-Raisina-3 Dal Raisina
Creamy Dal Raisina slow cooked for 6 hours

Slow-cooking Method for traditional Indian Recipes:

Slow cooking is almost a forgotten cooking practice for two generations, I remember my grandmother preparing some specialty curries & milk based desserts like thirattu paal, paal payasam, etc. in slow fire for several hours. Nowadays our kitchens are equipped with not less than half a dozen of pressure cookers of varied sizes but we are reluctant to invest on the slow cooker. It is mainly because I don’t have a patience to wait for several hours to get my food cooked, nor the confidence to leave the food getting cooked unattended. After reading the article published in newspaper a couple of days ago about the unusually long hours of slow cooked dal Raisina, I started having an itch to cook the same for at least few hours to find out the benefits of slow cooking.

Dal-Raisina-1 Dal Raisina
Dal Raisina, a perfect side for both rice & roti

Recipe for slow-cooked dal Raisina

Dal Raisina is a lentil curry made of slimy black gram, buttery rajma beans, creamy chickpeas brewed in heavy cream for a couple of hours. Here I have cooked black gram & chickpeas in little ghee for 6 hours and added a taste of light whipping cream at the end to prevent it getting curdled. I find the texture & aroma of slow cooked dal far superior than the pressure cooked dal. It tastes divine when served with chappathi and jeera rice. Now the recipe for Dal Raisina:

Dal-Raisina-2 Dal Raisina
Slow-cooked Dal Raisina

Cooking time: 6 hours

Yields: 400 ml


Ghee 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds1 tsp
Bay leaf1
Green chilli1
Red chilli powder3/4 tbsp
Coriander seeds powder1 tsp
Turmeric powder1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder1/2 tsp
Ginger1 and 1/2″
Garlic1 small bulb
Split black gram 1/4 cup
Split chickpeas 1/4 cup
Dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)1 tsp
Fresh cream1 tbsp
Fresh coriander leaves (chopped)as needed
Salt1 tsp
Water2.5 Litres
Dal-Raisina-ingredients Dal Raisina
Dal Raisina ingredients

Mise en place:

  • Wash the lentils and soak for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile we can prepare the ginger-garlic paste & tomato puree and keep them ready.
  • Then slit the green chilli, chop the onions finely and leave aside.
Dal-Raisina-prep Dal Raisina

Slow-cooking of Dal Raisina :

  • Heat a large heavy bottom cooking pot with ghee in low flame.
  • Add bay leaf, cardamom & cumin seeds.
  • When their aroma is released add slit green chilli & chopped onion.
  • Increase the heat to medium and saute till onions turn translucent.
  • Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander seeds powder & garam masala powder and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Now add ginger garlic paste followed by tomato puree and saute until incorporated.
  • Now pour water into the pot and increase the heat to high.
  • When the water begins to boil, add soaked lentils into the pot.
  • Reduce the flame to low.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and simmer until lentils become soft & tender.
  • When the lentils are cooked add salt & dried fenugreek leaves.
  • Continue cooking in low flame until the dal mixture reaches the desired consistency
  • Pour fresh cream and sprinkle chopped coriander leaves into the dal.
  • Mix well and simmer for few minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Serve hot with any rice dish and/or flat breads.
Dal-Raisina-recipe-1 Dal Raisina
Dal Raisina cooked in slowfire for 6 hours

107 comments on “Dal RaisinaAdd yours →

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  1. Interesting read on Dal.. I think it is so much similar to Dal Makhani version, that is especially cooked on with slow cooking method at Raisina Hills.. Very nice share!!

    1. Yes, Dal Raisina is indeed the same dal makhani prepared in RB for VIPs.
      Thank you!

  2. Love these kinda dal recipes, healthy as well tasty and much needed for vegetarians like us ?

  3. Yummy! I do like Lentil curry. Saving this recipe for later. It is Summer over here and this means mostly SALAD and FRUITS for me! Keep well Megala.

  4. The recipe sounds fantastic and never knew that in our Parliament this dal is cooked and given to so many guests to eat. Megala u are writing slimy black gram, buttery rajma beans & creamy chickpeas, this I am not understanding, cause what will I ask the baniya when I go to take from him if I too want to make this dal in the house cause in a similar way I make Moong dal in the house and we eat mostly with chapati or bread, do let me know.

    1. I just mentioned the texture of each dal when cooked, ie. cooked black gram would look slimy, rajma looks buttery, etc. You can add black gram, rajma beans & chickpeas into your moong dal curry also. By the way, dal Raisina is a specialty dish prepared in the president’s house.
      Thanks Roohani!

  5. Loved reading the trivia behind the recipe. It certainly looks hearty and delicious. Also, I agree with you on the “lost art of slow cooking” the technique imparts flavour and depth to dishes which unfortunately these days due to time constraints is lacking big time. Like all good things, this too shall come back. Lets pray for that.

    1. Yes, I do hope that the entry of slow cookers into Indian kitchens would bring all such traditional slow cooked foods back to our platters.
      Thank you so much for reading my posts & commenting.

  6. wow, 6 hours to cook!
    it must be delish and with chickpeas too, to be a bit hearty also.
    aaaah, wish your posts were somehow scented too.

  7. What a royal dish indeed. I agree slow cooking imparts a unique taste to dishes.

      1. Hi Megala , I do have a Instant pot cooker which has a slow cook option but I haven’t explored it yet . I have heard of friends telling how awesome it turns out when they use that option especially for rajma and the like curries. This recipe you shared also seems like a great option to try with it .Hopefully will try it out soon πŸ™‚

  8. Balck Gram and Rajama indeed a good combination. But this combo I must try. I agree,Like everyone I don’t have patience for slow cooking.. But Nice that you tried to cook this for 6 Hrs. I am sure it tastes way better than instant cooking.. Now, you encouraged me to try slow cooking..Thanks for sharing the info abt Dal Raisina.

    1. Yes, it is indeed a difficult task cooking for 6 hours on stove top, but it was worth the try as we enjoyed this to a greater extent than pressure cooked dal. Hope you give it a try in slow cooker.
      Thank you!

    1. Of course we all don’t like to waste the fuel and hence I feel guilty to prepare basundi, milk khoya, or other milk pudding for several hours on stove top. But while making this curry I did not feel guilty because slow cooked dal not only pleases the palate but slow cooking minimizes the loss of nutrients & also makes the food easily digestible particularly lentils & legumes.
      Thank you.

  9. I read about Dal Raisina being served to the Prime Minister recently, and was wondering about it. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! πŸ™‚ I’ll surely be trying this out some time soon.

  10. I too was fascinated when I read about Dal Raisina which was served for dinner after the PM’s oath taking ceremony. Kudos to you for recreating this dish!

    1. Yes, I also felt so, and I got motivated to try my hand in this recipe. πŸ™‚
      Thank you.

  11. Exactly, slow cooking has not been applied for a long time nowadays. In America, they use slow cookers to make “slow cooking.” They simply plug it in, and put all ingredients in the cooker, and let it cook there all day until they come home from work.
    However, I remember that my grand mom used to cook some delicious soups and stews for hours! I stayed in the kitchen with her, and played some little games and waited for hours for the soup being ready. It is a nice childhood memory!
    Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe, Megala. (I am studying the ingredients now. ^^)

    1. Yes, slow cooker would be a wonderful addition into our kitchens.
      By the way, it is really a great experience that everyone of us enjoyed watching our favorite food being cooked at home during our childhood days. Thanks for taking me to those beautiful moments. πŸ™‚
      Have a nice week ahead!

  12. Very tasty dish Megala, I love the way it’s prepared all the flavors combined and longer cooking process makes magic πŸ™‚ Yum.

    1. Yes, I have to admit that I have been the one among them, and this is my first attempt to prepare a slow-cooked curry. I think a slow cooker will find a place in my kitchen soon. πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much.

  13. A VIP dish, how cool! It sounds yummy, and it’s packed with healthy, natural ingredients (including with anti-inflammatory properties like turmeric) which is brilliant ?
    Caz xx

    1. Yes, it is delicious & nutritious too. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for reading & commenting.

  14. That’s so true Megala that we are willing to do everything in a fast forward motion. I remember my mother used to cook all lentils without pressure cooker and it used to be the yummiest dish.
    Your dish looks delicious and thank a lot for reminding us our traditional way of cooking!

    1. Yes, since slow cookers are available nowadays, we can easily revive the tradition of slow cooking even in our kitchens.
      Thank you so much.

  15. It looks great. But like you, I would not like to go away and leave a cooking pot unattended. Guess it just needs some organisation.

  16. How lovely. It sounds a lot like Dal Makhani. I love slow cooked too – and don’t have a pressure cooker for that reason. Just have to be a bit more organised.

    1. Yes, it is very much similar to dal makhani, and got this name for being prepped in RB kitchen.
      I just can’t imagine a day without my pressure cooker, and I really want to reduce my dependence on this kitchen gadget. πŸ™‚
      Thanks so much for reading this post & leaving your comment here.

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