Sigdi Ki Daal

Sigdi Ki Daal

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Sigdi Ki Daal

It is late spring and early summer here in California, and we love spending time in our backyard. It is a perfect climate to spend time outside...neither cold and chili nor super hot. And sitting outside and cooking is lot of fun.

I had always heard my parents' say that food cooked over charcoal heat tastes better than the contemporary techniques. And after a long time of experimenting with flavors I agree: food cooked in claypots and over charcoal heat tastes delicious. The natural flavors of the food are restored by the slow cooking techniques, and also imparts smoky rustic aroma to the food.

Sigdi in India is a small charcoal grill. Although charcoal takes time to heat up but the heat reaches high temperatures and food is cooked to perfection. Even with clay pots, they do take time to heat up but can retain heat for a long time, cooking the food thoroughly.

You need not get fancy, even simple dal and rice tastes delicious. 



Ingredients (serves 2-3)
For Dal
1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
4 cups water (3 cups water if using a pressure cooker to make dal)
1 tbsp ghee
1/4 tsp. mustard seeds
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1 cup chopped onions
1 chopped tomato
2-3 cloves garlic
1-2 chopped green chilies
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/2-1 tsp. red chili powder
1+1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water to de-glaze the pan
  • In a clay pot wash dal and add 4 cups water. Soak it for 15 minutes.
  • Cook on charcoal heat for 20-30 minutes or till soft.
  • Place cooked dal aside. Place a pan over charcoal heat. 
  • Add ghee. mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chopped green chilies, onions and chopped garlic. Saute well till soft. Add tomatoes and cook till they get soft. Add turmeric and chilli powder and fry for a minute. 
  • Add tempering to dal.
  • Add 1/2 cup water to the pan to de-glaze it. Add than water to dal. This will ensure no spice tempering goes waste.
  • Put dal over charcoal heat again. Add salt and simmer for 8-10 minutes. 
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

For Rice
1 cup rice
2 cups water
  • Wash rice, add water and keep the pot over charcoal hear. Cook uncovered till water boils and once water evaporates, cover the pot and keep it aside for 5-10 minutes. Do not mix the rice. It might break the rice strands or rice might get mushy.

For added flavor: pour a tsp of ghee over rice when done. Or serve ghee over rice and dal in a plate.

In a clay pot wash dal and add 4 cups water. Soak it for 15 minutes.


Cook on charcoal heat for 20-30 minutes or till soft.



Place cooked dal aside. Place a pan over charcoal heat. 
Add ghee. mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chopped green chilies, onions, and chopped garlic. Saute well till soft. Add tomatoes and cook till they get soft. Add turmeric and chilli powder and fry for a minute. 
Add tempering to dal.



Add 1/2 cup water to the pan to de-glaze it. Add than water to dal. This will ensure no spice tempering goes waste.


Put dal over charcoal heat again. Add salt and simmer for 8-10 minutes.


Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.


Wash rice, add water and keep the pot over charcoal hear. Cook uncovered till water boils and once water evaporates, cover the pot and keep it aside for 5-10 minutes. Do not mix the rice. It might break the rice strands or rice might get mushy.



For added flavor: pour a tsp of ghee over rice when done. Or serve ghee over rice and dal in a plate.


Enjoy rustic cooking!!