I am not sure if it is right to quote Dal Chawal Palida as the {vegetarian} biryani of the Bohra Cuisine, however, this one is extremely representative of our food and signifies a happy occasion. It is often during the Islamic birthdays, new year or at the start of the new month, that we dig a plethora of our traditional recipes to represent the roots we come from and take forward our legacies to future. As I always say, Bohra food evolved from it’s people living in different regions where it has a colorful and varied history. Although the cuisine is dominated by a lot of Gujarati and Mughlai and a rare Middle Eastern connection, yet with all its exotic creations it is distinct from all others. 

Also, what makes a Bohra meal time exclusive are the people coming to feast around a thaal which is much more than appetizing food. It indicates sharing the love and inviting humility, equality and unity. No matter where a Bohra reside in different corners of the world, their enunciated food practices travel with them to all parts of the globe.

Even though the biryanis and pulaos are equally relished, Bohras love to come home to a simple spicy stew made from gram flour and either moringa drumsticks or bottle gourd with Gujarati origins accompanied by khichdi which is a mix of steamed rice and lentils. Dal Chawal Palida will tantalize your taste buds leaving you with a memorable after taste of the flavours and the spices of the subcontinent long after the feast is over.

Please try and let me know how you like it? I would love to hear your thoughts and if you make it, don’t forget to share your pictures with me on Instagram using #thoughtsoverchai X

Dal Chawal Palida
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins

A complete bohra meal of stew and steamed rice with lentils.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Bohra Cuisine, Indian
Servings: 6 people
  • 1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas), {soak the lentils for atleast 30 minutes}
  • 2 drumsticks or moringa fruit, {peeled and cut into 3 inch pieces)
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp besan or gram flour
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 6 to 7 curry leaves
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder, {adjust as per your liking}
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
Dal - Chawal
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas), {soak the lentils for atleast 30 minutes}
  • 1 onion {finely chopped}
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp chopped green chilli
  • 1 tbsp ghee
For Palida
  1. Pressure cook the soaked lentils and moringa fruit with double quantity water, for approximately 15 minutes. Moringa should be cooked but remain intact. Set aside.

  2. In a cooking pot, heat cooking oil. Add the curry leaves, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. As they splutter, add garlic and saute for a minute.

  3. Add the onions and fry until translucent. Add tomatoes, red chilli powder, salt, green chilli and turmeric powder. Cook until the mixture become a paste like consistency. Add the gram flour and cook until the raw aroma goes away, scraping from the bottom of the pot. 

  4. Pour in the water of the cooked lentils and moringa into the cooking pot, stirring slowly. Add another cup of water to make it into a runny stew. Cook on medium flame for another 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander.

For Dal - Chawal
  1. Cook the rice separately. as you normally do.  

  2. Boil the lentils with turmeric powder. Lentils shouldn't be over cooked, it should remain whole. Alternatively, you can cook lentils of palida and dal chawal together and save some before adding to the onion-gram flour mix.

  3. Drain the water from lentils. In a small pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds. Add green chilli, onions and salt. Cook until translucent and add it to the lentils. 

  4. In a flat bottom pot, put a layer of rice followed by a layer of lentils and rice again. Garnish with chopped coriander. Pour a tablespoon of ghee and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve hot with palida. 


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