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Dal Dhokli (Lentil soup with homemade wholewheat pasta)

Dal Dhokli is a Gujrati dish made with lentils and homemade whole wheat pasta/dumplings, whatever you want to call them! It is an extremely tasty and healthy soup, which is perfect for cold winter evenings. I discovered this dish very recently and regret not having eaten this earlier. This is usually made with toor dal (split pigeon peas). If you can’t find toor dal, you may substitute it with yellow split peas. The taste will be slightly different, but still delicious! I like to use a combination of toor dal and mung dal, just because I like it that way :)

Coming to the most important and tasty part of this dish, the “dhokli“. Dhokli are the thin strips made a whole wheat flour dough. These strips are dropped in the simmering dal and cooked until tender. They taste just like pasta, or purists may want to call them dumplings. This is a perfect meal in a bowl, that is very satisfying and filling. The dal is a perfect balance of all the flavors and these dhoklis complement the dal very well. This recipe is a keeper and I will make this very often. I read a lot of recipes for dal dhokli and came up with this version. Throw in some chopped spinach, carrots or any other vegetable, to make this soup heartier and healthier. Don’t get panicked by the long ingredient list, the recipe is very very simple.


Note: I use the chapatti/roti flour from the Indian grocery store to make the dhokli. If you want to use regular whole what flout, I would suggest that you buy the soft wheat flour without bran or just sieve the flour and separate the bran. The bran can make the dhokli very bitter. I love the multigrain flour that is available these days. It has great taste and makes really soft rotis.

Ingredients:
Serves 2

For the dhokli:

Whole Wheat flour – 3/4 cup
Chickpea flour (besan) – 1 Tbsp (optional)
Carom seeds – 1 tsp (optional)
Salt – 1/8 tsp
Oil – 1 tsp
Water – about 1/4 cup

For the dal:

Toor dal/Yellow split peas – 1/4 cup
Mung dal (or use equal amount of toor dal) – 1/4 cup
Onion (chopped) – 1 small
Tomato (chopped) – 2 medium
Oil/Ghee – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Amchur (dried mango powder) – 2 tsp or Tamarind pulp – 1 tsp
Green chilies (minced) – 2 no.
Ginger (minced/grated)- 1 tsp
Garlic (minced) – 2-3 large cloves
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Jaggery/brown sugar – 1 tsp
Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) – 1 Tbsp (optional)
Cilantro/Coriander leaves (finely chopped) – 1/4 cup
Lemon juice – as required
Ghee/Olive oil – to drizzle before serving
Water – 5-6 cups

Method:

For the dhokli:

  • Knead the ingredients mentioned for the dhokli into a stiff dough. Cover and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Make the sal during this time.
  • Divide the dough into three portions. Lightly oil the work surface and roll out each portion into a 6-7 inch circle. Don’t stretch it too thin or you may not be able to lift the dhokli and drop it in the dal.
  • Cut the circle into diamonds/strips, however you want to. Make sure all the pieces are almost the same size, so they cook evenly.

Tip: If you find removing the dhoklis and dropping them in the dal a messy job, you are right! Here’s a neat trick. Use a wooden/steel board to roll out the dhokli. Cut the strips and then freeze the board for 5 minutes.After 5 minutes, you will be able to easily pick up the frozen dhoklis. You can also make all the dhoklis in advance and freeze them. Use them whenever required.

For the dal:

  • Cook the dals until tender and mash them up completely. We Indians love our pressure cooker and can’t live without it. You may cook the dals on the stove top, but they will take longer to cook.
  • Heat the oil in a fairly large pot (that can hold about 8-10 cups of water). Add in the cumin seeds and saute for 30 seconds, then add in the asafoetida, turmeric powder, ginger, garlic, green chilli and curry leaves. Saute for a minute on low heat.
  • Mix in the chopped onions and cook until they are soft. Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they are mushy, about 5 minutes on medium-high heat.
  • Then add the cooked dals, amchur or tamarind pulp, red chilli powder, coriander powder, jaggery/brown sugar and the water. Add salt to taste and cover and bring the dal to a rolling boil, about 5 minutes. Check salt ans season appropriately.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the dhokli as mentioned above. Drop in the dhokli into the boiling dal. Add the crushed kasuri methi if using and cover the pot. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, until the dhoklis are soft, tender and cooked. You have to taste one to make sure it is cooked through.

Note: Drop the dhokli in boiling dal, or the dhoklis may stick and create a lump, which is not really appealing.

Sprinkle the chopped cilantro on top and stir. Serve with lemon wedges, a dash of fresh lemon juice brightens up all the flavors! Additionally drizzle some ghee/olive oil on top while eating.

This recipe is off to the even Indian Food Palooza, hosted by three lovely ladies and wonderful bloggers, Prerna, Barbara and Kathy! This is an event to celebrate Indian food. How could I not take part?!! If you would like to submit a recipe, you may do so here.

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