Dal Bhaat Tarkari – National Dish of Nepal (Rice, lentils and Vegetables)

Dal Bhaat Tarkari

For the third of National dishes series, I have the National dish of Nepal. Dal Bhaat Tarkari is a very common meal not only in Nepal but also in India. According me to the synonym to this dish is comfort food. This is a meal which is perfect for kids or elderly alike. My kid’s first meal was the dal bhaat which is nothing but Dal with steamed rice. Tarkari means, a vegetable side to go along with the dal bhaat.

Dal Bhaat Tarkari is a meal that a common man is Nepal eats 2-3 times a day. They typically eat with their hands, mixing the rice with the dal. The plate would also have the tarkari, a pickle and some curd (yogurt). I referred to few different sites to get a take on an authentic recipe for the dal, but everyone had mentioned that every dal turns out different.

I liked this specific recipe for the dal a little different from what I usually make. Dal Bhaat Tarkari was perfect for the cold winter nights here and I can totally relate to how comforting this will be for the hikers and residents of Nepal.

Dal (spiced lentil soup)

Preparation time – 5 minutes
Cooking time – 1 hour
Difficulty level – easy
Ingredients – (serves 4)
  • Masoor dal (orange/red lentils) – 1 cup
  • Onion – 1 cup (finely chopped)
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil/ghee – 1 tbsp
  • Cilantro – 3 tbsp
For the spice powder –
  • Red chilies – 2
  • Coriander seeds – 1 ½ tsp
  • Cloves – 4
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cardamom – 2
  • Cinnamon – ¾ inch piece
  • Peppercorn – 8
Procedure –
  • Grind all the ingredients mentioned under the spice to a fine powder. I used my mini mixer to grind, but you could also use a mortar and pestle.
  • Wash the lentils well and then cook in enough water until soft and mushy.  People in Nepal like their dal a little bit on the runny side and so do I. So, depending on how you like it, cook the dal with turmeric powder and add salt at the end of the cooking cycle.
  • In a separate pan, heat the oil and sauté the onions until they are golden brown.
  • Now add the spice powder and fry it for a couple of minutes.
  • Add this mixture into the cooked dal and let the dal boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes more.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with rice!

Bhaat (steamed rice)

Dal Bhaat Tarkari

Preparation time – 5 minutes
Cooking time – 20 minutes
Difficulty level – easy
Ingredients – (serves 4)
  • Rice – 1 cup
  • Water – 2 or 3 cups depending on the kind of rice
Procedure –
  • I use Sona Masoori rice for my regular cooking and that is what I used today. Cook the rice in stove top or in pressure or in rice cooker until fluffy and cooked.
  • Serve with the dal and tarkari!


Tarkari (Vegetable curry)

The vegetables used for tarkari depends on what grows in the season. There is no right or wrong vegetable for the recipe. I used what I had in hand.Preparation time – 10 minutes
Cooking time – 40 minutes
Difficulty level – easy
Ingredients –Serves 4
  • Cauliflower – 2 cups (florets)
  • Potatoes – 2 large (skin removed and cubed)
  • Onion – 1 cup (sliced thin)
  • Tomato – 2 (chopped)
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam masala – ½ tsp
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
Procedure –
  • Par boil/part cook the vegetables until they are 3/4th done. Make sure that you don’t make them mushy.
  • Heat oil in a pan and sauté the onions until they are golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 more minutes.
  • Add the dry spice powders and salt and sauté for 2 more minutes. Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Add the part cooked vegetables and about 1 ½ cups of water and cook it further for 10 more minutes.
  • Serve with chapatti or dal bhaat!



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