Dhan daar nay vaghaar

Cyrus Todiwala has kindly shared his all-time favourite dal recipe with us…

This is perhaps my most loved food when had with a masala fried fish. It is Parsee in origin, simple to make, nutritious, wholesome and above all else delicious.

My mother does make it better than I do and now my wife makes an excellent product much loved by all of us. Though our little son tells me that his

“Bapaiji” paternal grandmother still makes the best. However you can guess which meal I mentioned once, when asked by a journalist about what I would eat if I were to die the next day.

  • 100g basmati rice per person, washed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 green cardamom pods, cracked at the tip
  • 200g toover dal (toor dal), washed and soaked for at least 2-3 hours
  • 1 level tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 5-6 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 green chilli cut into 4 pieces (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  1. For the rice, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the bay leaves and cardamom  and the rice and cook for 8-10 minutes, until cooked but firm.
  2. For the daar, cover the dal with fresh water, add the turmeric and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and remove any scum from the top and continue cooking until completely cooked.
  3. Add one tablespoon of the butter and some salt and puree the lentils to a smooth paste to the consistency of a thick pouring sauce., using water to thin if needed.
  4. For the vaghaar, heat one tablespoon of butter with one of sunflower oil and heat slowly. Add the cumin and fry for one minute, then add the onion, garlic and chilli if using and fry until golden-brown.
  5. Add the vaghaar to the dal and season to taste. Serve with the rice.