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Preparation time : 15 minutes
Cooking time      : 25 minutes
Serves                : 4 members
The word dalcha and the dish by itself is originally very own to Hyderabad cuisine. I have no idea as how this mighty dalcha landed up in all ravuthar (Tamil Muslim) homes as a must side dish for biriyani. The ravuthar’s of the southern districts of tamilnadu are unique, sharing similarities with Sri Lankan cuisine and using un usual ingredients like pandan leaves, dried tuna, poppy seeds, urugai or whole limes that are pickled in salt and used in various preparations. Each district and home have their own variations of the dalcha with slight change of the use of vegetable combination with mutton bones + fat + dal. This recipe is that I learnt from my mother-in-law which is a like through out the tirunelveli region. The dalcha recipe, allows the true characters of the vegetables used to shine, resulting in a creation far greater than the sum of their parts. There is no better way than to rely back to our roots and cook the old school way. I remember, in a wedding reception of one cousin bother in the family where the groom was ravuthar and the bride a mappla (malayali Muslim). We were served a grand malabar feast with layered biriyani. All the old women were shouting out loud asking for dalcha saying, the biriyani is shocking us.. Get us some dalcha. The rest of us around were all giggles as the ravuthar’s just can’t have biriyani with out their dalcha. True blue old haunts we are. I instantly sensed the gap in understanding food from place to place. yet again more to know, more to learn and more to understand as always.


Yellow split peas / Toovar dal1 cup
Bengal gram ( Kadala paruppu)3/4 cup
Oil1 teaspoon
Mutton bones + fat 100 grams
Turmeric powder1/4 teaspoon
Ginger paste1/4 teaspoon
Garlic paste1/4 teaspoon
Egg plants1/4 kg each cut into 4 slices
Drum stick1 cut into finger length pieces
Yellow pumpkin1 slice cut into cubes
Raw mango peeled1 , cheeks cut into long thick pieces + seed
Big Onion 1 sliced
Small onionsone hand crushed
Green chillies6
Tomatoes2 medium sized chopped
Coriander leaves2 tablespoons chopped
Saltto taste
Red chilly powder1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder1/4 teaspoon
Cumin powder1/2 teaspoon
Fennel powder1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder1 teaspoon
Tamarind pulp4 tablespoons or to taste
Coconut paste5 tablespoons

Ingredients to temper

Gingely oil2 tablespoons
Mustard seeds 1 teaspoon
Fenugreek seeds1/4 teaspoon
Cumin seeds1/4 teaspoon
White urad dal1 teaspoon
Curry leaves1 tablespoon
Small onions1/2 hand chopped
Ginger garlic paste1/4 teaspoon each



  • Heat a small pan with one teaspoon of oil. Add ginger and garlic paste. Sauté to crisp and golden. Top with the cleaned mutton bones and fat. Stir well for a minute or so until the colour of the bones and fag change. Remove from heat and keep is aside.
  • Pressure cook both the dals, the sautéed mutton bones + fat and turmeric powder with just enough water to well cooked. About 2-3 whistles. Open the pressure cooker only after the pressure in the whistle subsides.
  • In a large pot, mix the cut egg plants, drum stick, yellow pumpkin, raw mango, big onion slices, small onion crushed, slit green chillies, tomatoes, coriander leaves, salt to taste, red chilli powder, cumin powder, fennel powder, coriander powder. Mix well. Add just enough water to boil the mixed vegetables and cook to 3/4 done.
  • Add tamarind pulp and cook the vegetables to done. Drain excess water from the pressure cooked dal. Mash the pressure cooked dal and bones with the bake of a big spatula to smooth. Add it to the cooked vegetables. Mix well. Add coconut paste and bring to boil.
  • Check seasoning for salt, sourness and chilli. All the three must be more than required as only then when tempered. The dalcha tastes correct.
  • Heat the oil,add fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, urad dal and cumin seeds. Once they crackle. Add the curry leaves and small onions. Once the small onions are golden. Add the ginger and garlic paste. Sauté to brown and crisp. Pour over the pot of dalcha.
  • Immediately pour a ladle of dalcha into the tempered hot vessel and swirl getting in all the flavours of the tempered pot into the dalcha. Pour into the dalcha pot and mix well.
  • Serve hot along with biriyani, ghee rice (nei choru) or coconut milk rice (thenga choru) as a side dish.