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Wholesome Horse Gram Dal

2 months ago / by Malathy Chandrasekhar

Rich in protein, fiber and nutrients, this lentil a great way to keep bad health at bay

Horse gram dal with cucumbers and roti
Horse gram dal with cucumbers and roti. Pic courtesy Healthy Indian

I got to know of horse gram, the amazing lentil/legume, from my Ayurvedic doctor, who overhauled my diet chart a few years ago. And here I was, thinking I had the most balanced diet one could have.

Apparently, a few things were missing in my diet. One of them was horse gram. The doctor suggested that I add powdered horse gram to batters or simply mix it in warm water to drink regularly. I had a different idea: I decided to make a dal of it.

Horse Gram in Ayurveda

Powdered horse gram is a key ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine. It is used to treat ailments such as asthma, bronchitis, peptic ulcers, and hemorrhoids. The biggest takeaway for me is its protein richness. In fact, it derives its name from the fact that it is fed to horses before races! This lentil can thrive in arid settings, making it easy to grow in difficult conditions.

Wholesome Horse Gram Dal

After considerable researching, I zeroed in on this spicy recipe that is somewhat like rajma masala. As with rajma (kidney beans), horse gram lentils has to be soaked for long (overnight is best). An important next step is to pressure cook the lentils for at least 40 minutes. You can do this in a regular pressure cooker or an Instant Pot (IP). The rest of the preparation is straightforward. Use ginger, garlic, onion, tomatoes, garam masala, turmeric, chili powder and coriander powder to give this dish a unique, spicy flavor. This adds to the lentil’s somewhat nutty taste and texture.


Like other legumes, it is high in protein and fiber, and is a great option for everyone, especially vegetarians. Fiber and protein may help control healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

The Recipe

This power-packed lentil dish is as delicious as it is nutritious! Enjoy it steaming hot with your favorite rice or roti.

Course: Main course

Cuisine:North Indian

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Soaking lentils: 1 day

Total time: 1 day 1 hour 15 minutes

Serves: 2

Calories: 395kcal


  • 1 cup horse gram (soaked for 24 hours)
  • 1/3 cup onion, fine cut
  • 1/2 Cup Tomato, fine cut
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp organic turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt. Or to taste
  • 1 tbsp rice bran oil
  • 1/2 cup filtered water


  1. Wash and soak horse gram lentils for 24 hrs. (or overnight).
  2. Pressure cook in Instant Pot (IP) for 40 minutes. Wait for natural pressure release, transfer pressure cooked lentils into a bowl and clean the IP pan.
  3. Cut onion, tomato, cilantro, and set aside in separate bowls. Crush fresh ginger and garlic.
  4. Set IP to ‘sauté’ mode, add oil. Once the ‘hot’ sign shows up, and onion, crushed ginger and garlic. Cook till slightly brown.
  5. Add turmeric, red chili powder and mix. Now add tomatoes, salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add coriander powder, garam masala, and mix well.
  6. Add pressure-cooked lentils, water, stir, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add cilantro and mix.
  7. Transfer to serving bowl.


*Use organic ingredients wherever possible

For the full recipe, visit

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