Finally, the dots connected over Dal Gosht

Often in life, we rarely fathom how some unfulfilled wishes become a reality. Dal Gosht is not a story of dream come true but a partial fulfillment of a pending task and guilt getting knocked off. We were celebrating Dal Divas with Rushina and one of the sessions was of Sadaf Hussain. I have never tasted his food but his fan following, critic’s appreciation definitely makes him a newsmaker chef. What I like is his constant endeavor to reinvent himself and his in-depth knowledge of cuisine. In recent times, I found his book Dastaan e Dastarkhan a very interesting read. It’s one of the rare books from which I have tried Bhopali Rezala many a time. It’s a fail-safe recipe and the story of Bhopal and Altaf and Shafi uncle is worth a read.

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How Sadaf made Dal Gosht ‘live’ on Instagram

You can check the fun we had over insta live when Sadaf made Dal Gosht. I enjoyed my conversation for his upfront views on dal and why is dal so popular with all of us.  He explained ‘Akhti’ which is not there in his book and a close cousin of dal ki dulhan. Akhti is a heirloom recipe where shredded meat is cooked in spiced lentils along with rice flour dumplings.

On that day, he had the mutton cooked beforehand. Sadaf had boiled the mutton with khada masala which had cinnamon, bay leaves, black pepper and cardamom. He added cold-pressed or kachhi ghani mustard oil in the pan and added soaked urad, masoor and moong dal. Sadaf seamlessly made Dal gosht which left all of us hungry by the end of the show.

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Sadia Dehlvi and Jasmine and Jinns

There are certain dishes which call out to you. As dal gosht was ready, I knew we had to try this at home. I requested Sadaf to share the recipe so that we can try this at home. Sadaf later confirmed that he had taken the recipe from Razia ka Shahi Dastarkhwan by Razia Sultana Chaman Dehlavi. However one can also follow the recipe in Jasmine and Jinnes by Late Sadia Dehlvi. Jasmine and Jinns is another book that I was gifted by a friend and I started reading this during the lockdown. Soon it became one of my best food books. It has got recipes, some of the best manpasand recipes but the high point of the book is her realistic language soon gets the reader involved in her life, her ancestral journey and Old Delhi to name a few.

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Long after I completed the book, I had a strong urge to revisit Delhi in which she grew up, spend an evening at Shama Kothi during its glory and have a chat with Sadia Ma’am. I wanted to share my experience of the book. Like many things, this will now be a dream, a dream which can never get fulfilled. Sadia Dehlvi passed away on 5 Aug 2020 when her more than 2 year battle with cancer came to an end. Innumerable tributes poured in but someone summed it up best – Delhi’s Shamma has dimmed.

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Dal Gosht and few thoughts –

Where is the origin of this dish? A question that often haunts me for any food. Sadaf confirms that there cannot be a particular point of origin which can be attributed to the discovery of Dal Gosht. Sadaf claims that he has had this dish in Bangladesh, has heard about it existing in Pakistan, etc. As per him, Kwality in Delhi makes a fantastic version. Mr. Vir Sanghvi, in one of his articles on a combination of dal and mutton, had recommended Embassy restaurant in C.P. for their dal gosht. I haven’t tasted either, so cannot comment. In addition, if you search on the internet, you will find several variations like – 

Dal Gosht Bhatiyara style 

Doodhi Dal gosht 

Dal Gosht Pakistani style

Dal Gosht Delhi Darbar, Dal Gosht Bohra and many. It has two of my fav ingredients – Dal (my love for Dal is well known by now for people who know us) and mutton. The first time I had this – I exclaimed – Umda which means fine, nice, grand. I over-ate the first time and I had it with rice and paratha to experience the difference. I was indecisive as Dal Gosht overshadowed everything else.   

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Indian Dal Gosht - lentils Curry

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Dal Gosht

Madhushree Basu Roy
Three kinds of lentils cooked with mutton on the bone. There are two cooking methods below. The first one is how I cooked it. The second one is how it is mentioned in the book.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Non Vegetarian
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


  • 500 kg mutton
  • 250 gms moong, masoor and urad dal read notes
  • 4 tbsp yogurt
  • 4 large onions
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tbsp mustard oil
  • 2 nos bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp crushed pepper
  • 1/2 tsp besan Bengal gram flour
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3-4 nos green chilies
  • oil for deep frying the onions
  • salt to taste
  • coriander leaves for garnish

For the tadka/final tempering

  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 pinch heeng asafoetida
  • 2-3 dried red chilies


Cooking technique with pressure cooker

  • Wash all the lentils/dals and keep them soaked in water for 3 - 4 hours. Alternately, you can soak them in hot water for 30 t0 45 minutes. Clean and wash the meat and keep that aside.
  • In a pressure cooker, take all the dals and add water proportionately. Double the quantity of water. Add a little bit of salt and give it 2 whistles or let it cook for 15 minutes. Once done, let it slowly release the steam.
  • Finely slice the onions and deep fry them to a golden brown and keep them aside. If you don't want to deep fry, you can shallow fry also but it takes time that way.
  • In a heavy-bottomed pan or a kadai, take mustard oil and heat it. Add dried bay leaf and then the ginger and garlic paste and quickly stir fry it. Keep the heat at a medium or else it will burn.
  • Once the raw smell of the garlic goes away, add the fried onions (leave a little for garnish in the end). Immediately toss in the mutton pieces.
  • Over high heat, mix the onions with the mutton and brown the mutton pieces.
  • Whip the yogurt with turmeric powder, a little bit of salt, half a tsp of besan (which prevents the yogurt from splitting) and garam masala.
  • Add this whipped yogurt to the mutton and continue cooking it over medium to low flame. Once the spices have all assimilated, increase the heat and again stir fry for five minutes.
  • Then add 2 cups of water and pressure cook the mutton till it is tender.
  • Once the mutton is cooked, mix the mutton and the dal together in the saucepan (along with all the water from the dal boiling and the mutton boiling. Don't discard any liquid) and boil it.
  • Keep simmering till the dal has nicely cooked and has a semi-thick consistency with the tender mutton pieces.
  • Adjust salt, add crushed pepper and chopped green chilies.
  • Now in a tadka pan, heat ghee and add heeng and dried red chilies.
  • Pour this over the dal. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and fried onion.
  • Serve dal gosht with rice, roti or paratha.

Cooking technique without pressure cooker

  • Wash all the lentils/dals and keep them soaked in water for 3 - 4 hours. Alternately, you can soak them in hot water for 30 t0 45 minutes. Clean and wash the meat and keep that aside.
  • Finely slice the onions. Deep fry the onion slices to golden brown and keep them aside.
  • Heat mustard oil and add bay leaf and then ginger and garlic paste. Cook till the raw smell goes away. Add the fried onion (leave a little for garnish in the end) and mutton pieces.
  • Cook them till they are nicely browned and caramelised.
  • Add the whipped yogurt with all the spices like in step 7 above.
  • Stir fry for a few minutes and then pour water. Cook for fifteen to 20 minutes.
  • Add the lentils/dals into this mutton. Now continue cooking covered with a little water till the mutton is tender and the dals are cooked.
  • Add chilies, garam masala and adjust salt and pepper.
  • Finally add tadka with ghee, heeng and dried red chilies.
  • Pour in a serving dish, add chopped coriander leaves, fried onions and serve.


  1. Lentils quantity should be half the quantity of mutton. Between the three lentils, take masoor and moong dal equally and the balance can be urad dal. More or less, keep all three of equal quantities but it need not be exact. 
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