Sunday Recipe


Dal-Vegetable Stew a.k.a. Dhan-Saak

I love this warm, healthy, and hearty recipe created by Registered Dietitian Madhu Gadia in her wonderful vegan cookbook The Indian Vegan Kitchen
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Indian, Lentil, Stew, Vegetable
Servings: 8 servings of 1/2 cup each
Calories: 159kcal
Author: Madhu Gadia MS, RD


  • 1/3 cup toor dal split, hulled
  • 1/3 cup mung dal split, hulled
  • 1/3 cup pink (red) lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups butternut squash peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 cup eggplant cut into 1 inch cubes


  • 1 tbsp garlic coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup tomatoes coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 2 tbsp mint leaves chopped
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp oil of choice
  • 1 cup onion finely chopped


  • Combine toor dal, mung dal, and lentils, wash thoroughly, and then soak for two hours or longer.  
  • Prepare paste while dal is soaking.  In a blender, combine garlic, ginger, tomatoes, cumin seeds, garam masala, coriander, cayenne pepper, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, cilantro, mint leaves, tamarind paste, and water.  Grind to a smooth paste.  Set aside.
  • After dals have soaked for two hours or longer, drain off the water.  Combine dals, 4 cups of water, salt, turmeric, squash, and eggplant.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the dals and vegetables are very soft.  Stir to smooth consistency.  
  • In a large fry pan, heat oil on medium-high heat.  Add onion and saute until golden brown.  Add the paste mixture that you set aside and stir.  Add dals and vegetables and stir to coat everything and mix the spices.  Add 1/2 cup of water or more to desired consistency.  Mixture should appear thick like stew.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.  
  • Serve over a bed of hot rice.  

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