Indian dhalls are some of the most comforting foods around. They’re cheap as chips to put together and pack in so much flavour and goodness and are also high in protein.
“Wedding dhall” as it is known in South Africa is traditionally made with split peas that are boiled and then braised with a vegetable masala base rather than the tadka. It is more brown in colour due to the masala and has a thicker consistency, this along with the addition of vegetables makes it the perfect once pot meal. Baby aubergine is the most common vegetable used in this dhall but it can also be made with cauliflower florets, green beans or squash.
The reason behind the rather unique name is because it was popularized by being a staple side dish at Indian weddings works beautifully well with biryanis or vegetable curries.
Let’s get cooking…
I use my instant pot to speed up the cooking time to minutes rather than hours, but if you don’t have one a normal pressure cooker or stove top boil would work just as well. All you need to do is get the pea dhall to a mashable consistency.
Begin by boiling the pea dhall with tomatoes, turmeric and garlic until soft and disintegrating. Once this has been done, saute onion, mustard seeds and cumin until translucent, add in the ginger and garlic paste and curry powder, fry until fragrant then add in the aubergine and a little salt to taste.
Pour in half a cup of water and cook until the aubergine is soft. You may need to add more water to ensure the aubergine is fully cooked and the masala does not burn. Once the aubergine is soft, 20-30 minutes, add in the pea dhall mixture. At this point you can add in more water if the mixture is too thick. The dhall should be a thick pouring consistency. You want bring it to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Once you turn off the heat, add in a knob of butter or butter ghee and swirl through. Serve as the main dish with rice or as an accompaniment to other curries.
Indian wedding dhall
The quintessential Indian comfort food... dhall, with a twist
• ½ cup pea dhall, soaked in water for an hour or overnight
• 3 cloves of garlic
• 1 tomato, finely diced
• 1 tsp turmeric
• ½ onion, thinly sliced
• ½ tsp mustard seeds
• ½ tsp cumin seeds
• 1 tsp ginger and garlic
• 1 tsp curry powder
• 1 tblsp butter
• 2 tblsp oil
• ½ large aubergine, cut into 6 chunks or 6 small aubergines
- Boil pea dhal with tomatoes, turmeric and garlic until soft
- Saute onion, mustard seeds and cumin until translucent
- Add ginger and garlic paste and curry powder, fry until fragrant then add in the aubergine and a little salt to taste. Cook until the aubergine is soft
- Once this is cooked then add in the pea dhall mixture and a little water if it is too thick.
- Add more salt to adjust the seasoning
- The dhall should be a thick pouring consistency
- Stir in the butter and serve.
- Great as is just served with rice or accompanying any other veg curries