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Buta dali/split gram lentil - what we celebrate with

Buta dali/split gram lentil - what we celebrate with

I guess I am trained by now to start looking for trends in a pool of random data, and I can only embrace the skill. Most of what I do for my work depends on this to go right, which can be hard at times. I was casually browsing through my Facebook feed the other day when I noticed many of my friends talking about Puri, and doing whatever it took to cause the topic to trend on Facebook. Turns out, NatGeo was covering the annual chariot festival this year and was going to broadcast a show this week to celebrate Rath Yatra. I made a note on my phone to watch the show, as I browsed through its details! For those who may not know, Puri is a town located by the Eastern coast of India, and popular for the mighty Jagannath Temple that attracts several devotees everyday. Every year, Puri celebrates Rath Yatra, when the deities of the temple venture out on the chariot. Not too long ago did I come across a group of people in Rotterdam pulling a chariot with Jaganath & his siblings, and hosting a concert with Odissi dance and music all day long - while it made us proud, it also landed us in a state of utter confusion as to when exactly rath yatra was! 


Although Indian celebrations do not reward us with holidays abroad, they do provide an extra reason for why we should celebrate, and Indians do that with food. Even the Puri temple offers over 50 side dishes to its favorite resident! 50 is certainly beyond my ambition level for a weeknight celebration, so let's just start with one. A minimal celebration meal in an Oriya household serves gram lentil and kheeri (rice dessert). Since a gram lentil dish was long impending, I quickly ran downstairs to get some green papaya and make this dal. Maybe worthy of notice, this recipe is simple, nutritious, and extremely flavourful. To me, it brings a zillion memories back - of the breakfasts, birthdays, and family gatherings. Glad I'm making my plans to head back home next month for a break, all that craving will soon be taken care of!


Should I say, Happy Rath Yatra?!


Raw papaya an important ingredient to this gram lentil recipe.
panch poran, or as they say in Oriya, panch phutan, is a mix of aromatic seeds used to temper dal recipes in India.
Buta Dali, or gram lentil makes a classic celebration meal in Oriya households. This recipe is so quick and easy to make, it acts as a perfect weeknight recipe.


Time to prepare - 1 hour

Time to cook - 40 minutes


  1. 2 cups split gram lentil
  2. 2 cups large chunks of raw papaya
  3. 2 cups large chunks of pumpkin
  4. 1 red onion, sliced
  5. 1 tsp grated ginger
  6. 2 tbsp panch puran (substitute with 1 tbsp each of black mustard seeds, and cumin seeds)
  7. 2 tsp cumin powder
  8. 2 tsp turmeric
  9. 3 tbsp cooking oil
  10. 5 cups of water
  11. Salt to taste
  12. Coriander, to garnish


  1. Clean the lentils and soak for an hour, I usually take boiling water for the lentils to speed up cooking.
  2. Heat some oil in a pan, and add the panch puran. Once the seeds start crackling, add the onions and ginger. Stir for 3-4 minutes. Add all the ingredients except the veggies and coriander to the pan, cover and cook for 25 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetables and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables, and the lentils are cooked. 
  4. Garnish with coriander and serve with some steamed  rice.
  5. Enjoy!
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