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of a San Francisco girl out to explore.

Nepali Dal Bhat

Nepali Dal Bhat

Dal Bhat Power


Dal Bhat is widely considered the national dish of Nepal. In a culture that only eats two meals a day, one around 9am and another around 7pm, dal bhat keeps the Nepalese sustained throughout the entire day. It's a humble dish with unlimited varieties according to the type of curry you serve. At it's core, it's a serving of rice, thin lentil soup, a usually vegetarian curry, perhaps a sauteed green, and a spicy sauce which they call a pickle. 

During my stay with a family in Pokhara, they were kind enough to feed me during these two basic meal times and the dish was always dal bhat, although the curries varied from meal to meal. When I asked Prashna, my host, for the recipe, he chucked because each curry is dependent on what materials are available that day and the recipes are usually made us as they go. He did his best to share his secrets with me, which I now pass on to the curious chef at home.

For the Curry

  • Potatoes, diced
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 2 green chilis
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • Chili powder, to taste
  • Cumin powder, 1 tbsp
  • Coriander powder, 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder, 1 tbsp
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 4 curry leaves
  • 3 tbsp oil

For the Dal (lentils)

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. First, start on the dal. Rinse the dry lentils and drain for 10 minutes, Pat dry.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in saucepan. Add onions and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add coriander powder, salt, and pepper and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Add the lentils and sautee in vegetable and spice mixture for a stir.
  4. Add water and cook until mushy, around an hour.
  5. Next, start preparing rice in a rice cooker or by method of choice.
  6. Next, start the vegetable curry. Heat the pan with some oil and when the oil is heated, fry the onion and potatoes. (Around 5-8 minutes)
  7. Next, add the rest of the vegetables and cook for a while. (I'm guessing 3-4 minutes)
  8. Then, add in your spices and cook until potatoes are soft. (Around 10 minutes)
  9. To plate, serve lentils and curry in separate bowls alongside a serving of rice. Add sauteed greens of choice, favorite hot sauce, or sambal if desired.
36 Hours in India

36 Hours in India