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Dalma is synonymous with the Odiya cooking and a very comforting dish. Dalma is a highly nutritious dish combined with lentils (dals) and vegetables. There are many variations of Dalma. The traditional version of preparing the Dalma is in earthen vessel in many temples across Orissa state and offered as a Prasad to the God.
The word Dalma signifies a type of delicious dal that is a part of the Oriya cuisine. The dalma dish is served best with rice. It’s a blend of vegetables, ghee, coconut that gives people mouth watering experience. It not only contains the necessary proteins found in dal but also the vitamins and minerals found in vegetables. Being an authentic traditional dish of Orissa, it is perfectly suited to the local palates of the young and children. To enhance taste fresh ginger is added to dalma.
The choice of vegetables is often restricted to seasons, and to some extent the kind of lentils used in it. Tuvar (toor / arhar dal) can accommodate almost any kind of vegetables but if mung dal is being used, then vegetables like eggplants, raw banana become little odd in it. You can also include an array of vegetables like potatoes, cauliflowers, green peas, yellow pumpkins, raw papaya, carrots and radish. Tempering and seasoning is the most important aspect of this dish as it will help to bring out the color and flavor in it.
A traditional Oriya meal, generally spicy, consists of Rice, Dal, vegetable curry, vegetable fry, leaf vegetable, khata (sour dish), chutney, pickle etc. There is also a plate of salad with onion, cucumber, tomato, ginger, lemon or curd. On ceremonial occasions, the number and variety of items increase. Dalma, one of the typical dish and mostly when this is served with rice most of the other items are deleted from the menu. At few temples this special preparation is strictly only for vegetarian without onion and garlic. Few of them do not use vegetables like potato, tomato etc.
For preparing the Dalma, was the arhar dal thoroughly in water and soak it in water for about 30 mins. Meantime wash and cut all the vegetables into equal and uniform medium size. Take a pressure cooker and add water into the cooker (ratio goes 1 cup dal use 2 ½ cup water). Add little salt and haldi powder and the soaked dal along with the cut vegetables. (optional ½ cup of the coconut crums). Cover the cooker lid and put it on gas. Wait for the pressure cooker to release one whistle and then turn off the gas. Allow it to cool down on its own.
For tempering take a sauce pan and little hot and heat it. When the ghee is hot add dried red chillies, bay leaves and crushed ginger to it and toss for about 5 seconds then add little panch phutan immediately after adding it will start cracking and producing sound hence wait till the sound lowered (do not over burn the phutan). Add the tempering to the cooked boiled dal or add the boiled dal in the sauce pan. Add freshly chopped coriander leaves and remaining coconut crums and mix it well. The Dalma is ready to serve with chapatti, paratha or rice. You can also add a pinch of garam masala powder or sambar powder to enhance the flavors and taste of the dish.
Make sure that the dal is not watery and cooked to a thicker consistency. The vegetables should be cut in equal size or cubes. You can add any vegetable of your choice. Freshly grated coconut gives this dish extra flavor. In case you don't like ghee,use refine oil instead. You may also avoid sugar in this dish.
Do prepare this oriya delicacy and enjoy the nutritional benefits of the fresh vegetables. Click on the link for detailed recipe: