Gujarati Toor Dhal – Dried Pigeon Peas Lentil Soup

Here is a recipe for a delicious sweet and savory dhal that’s popular in the Western state of Gujarat. Called toor dhal – yellow pigeon peas lentil soup, what makes this dhal so uniquely Gujarati is the sweet and savory taste of the soup.

Gujarati Toor Dhal

Gujarati toor dhal has a taste onto it’s own! Truly a unique flavor profile not typically found in other dhals. What makes this dhal so different is the sweet and savory flavor of the dhal. It’s not Gujarati toor dhal if it’s not at least a little sweet 😋.

Sweet from the addition of raw unrefined sugar, spicy from the addition of cloves and ginger. The unique sweet flavor in Gujarati dhal comes from the addition of raw un refined sugar called jaggery.

Jaggery is a brown gelatinious raw sugar. This is the sweetener of choice in this dhal and gives the dish its earthy sweet flavor.

About the recipe

I just returned from visiting family in Mombasa, Kenya where my Hitesh’s Father and Brother’s family live. Being Gujarati Deepa my sister-in-law makes mostly Gujarati cuisine at home. Toor dhal is one such dish she made during our visit.

Deepa’s Recipe for Gujarati Toor Dhal

In Deepa’s recipe toor dhal is mildly spiced with cloves making it a friendly dhal for everyone. Cloves add their unique warming flavor and while many cooks add a generous amount which can make the dhal spicy, here just 3 cloves partake their unique fragrance and heat.

Another ingredient that Deepa added which I found interesting is a vegetable called drumsticks. Just one to two pieces adds wonderful aroma to the dhal. To be honest, I’ve never expected drumsticks to add such fabulous flavor and fragrance.

Of course the dhal can be made without drumsticks, but if you can find it, it’s a great addition. Drumsticks can be found frozen at the Indian grocery stores.

And now here is a recipe for Gujarati toor dhal shared by my sister-in-law Deepa.

Gujarati Toor Dhal
recipe contributed by sister in law Deepa


1 cup toor dhal cooked with 3 cups water until tender. I cook it in the instapot on high pressure for 25 minutes.
1 tomato finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger cut into chunks
3 tbsp fresh cilantro finely chopped
Juice of 1 small lemon
4-6 curry leaves
Drumsticks (1 – 2 pieces) Can be bought frozen at the Indian grocery store. (optional). Drumsticks partake a unique fragrance in the dhal.
Raw peanuts – 2 tbsp (optional)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves
1 tsp asafetida powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
Chili powder as much as you want
1 tbsp jaggery or brown sugar


First lightly blend the toor dhal so its creamy. Then add in salt and turmeric. Set aside.

In a stock pot warm 1 tsp oil with 1 tbsp ghee. To the warmed oil add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ginger and cloves and toast for a few seconds. Add asafetida, chili powder, and then immediately add the tomatoes.

Cook the tomatoes until tender.

Next add the cooked toor dhal. All the fresh coriander, drumsticks, curry leaves, peanuts (if using), and the jaggery. Bring to a low boil and cook for 3-4 minutes.

After few minutes turn the stove off, then squeeze lemon juice. Stir in.

Taste and adjust for salt. Toor dhal is ready. Serve over basmati rice.

Happy Sunday Soup Day!

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