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:

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 difference between slow cooking & pressure cooking.

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

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

Ingredients:

Ghee 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds1 tsp
Bay leaf1
Cardamom2
Green chilli1
Onion2
Red chilli powder3/4 tbsp
Coriander seeds powder1 tsp
Turmeric powder1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder1/2 tsp
Ginger 1 and 1/2″
Garlic1 small bulb
Tomatoes3
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

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 →

  1. 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.

  2. 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.
    hahaha!
    ???

      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 🙂

  3. 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!

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