Cauliflower Dal With Panch Phoron

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 35 mins

This is from Susan Jacksons' "Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen" blog. In some places this spice mix is spelled 'phoran', and in others 'phoron', Zaar seems to prefer 'phoron', so that's what I've used. "I know it doesn't look like much, a little lumpy and gloppy and overly orange, but this combination of red lentils and cauliflower tastes out of this world, all because of panch phoran." If you can't find this blend of Indian spices in the shops, here is an excellent recipe for making your own, from SueL, Panch Phoron - Indian 5-Spice.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Pick over and rinse the lentils and add them to a pot with the water and turmeric.
  2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the dal is tender, about 20 to 35 minutes. When done, add salt and set aside.
  3. While the dal is cooking, prepare the vegetables.
  4. Heat a large, deep skillet, preferably non-stick. When hot, add the canola oil and shake it to spread it around. Add the panch phoran and stir. (You may instead use oil spray; spray before and after adding the panch phoran.).
  5. When the first seed pops, immediately add the onion, garlic, pepper flakes, and ginger paste. Stir and cook until the onion softens, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes, cauliflower, and water, and stir. Cover and cook until the cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes.
  7. When the dal and cauliflower are both done, add the dal to the cauliflower mixture. Stir well, and check seasoning, adding more salt if needed.
  8. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve hot, over rice if desired.
Most Helpful

this is incredible! panch phoran is Bengali 5 Spice - whole not powdered - nigella seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds & black mustard seeds. I served it over basmati rice w/naan on the side. absolutely delicious! very easy to make & it makes a lot! i would use more red pepper next time; i couldn't even detect it. made for 'adopt a veggie' tag. thank you!

Elmotoo March 15, 2011

I think this is only the second time I've used "Indian 5-Spice" and I really like the flavour combo. I enjoyed how healthy this dish was and it was very simple to prepare....and it makes a big batch. I was a little worried about it being too soupy, (I know it's meant to be somewhat). Because it was so watery I let it cool and sit for a while and that did that trick. Next time I'd just boil the dal in slightly less water or I'd use maybe 1/4 cup more dal. I used 2 fresh tomatoes in place of the tinned and 2 fresh chilis in place of the red pepper flakes. I would agree that if you like things spicy you'll want to increase that since this is such a big pot full. Thanks Karen, I'll be enjoying this for quite a few lunches to come! Made for Veg*N Swap Feb10.

magpie diner February 23, 2010

We liked this cauliflower dal, but didn't find it spicy enough to suit our tastes. As Maito indicated, the crushed red pepper flakes definitely need to be increased. We made this as a side to a chicken korma recipe. It was easy to prepare and required very little prep, which was nice.

Dr. Jenny December 19, 2009