Dal Chawal

Dal Chawal as a comfort food for travelers and tourists

Dal chawal is not just your any other ordinary food, if you happen to travel in North India just like plethora of Maggi points , you will see the usage of Lentils can be prominently seen in most of the dishes from a regular dal chawal to khichdi for the sick. It is because the growth of lentils in the farms in the North India is comparatively high which hence resulting in having an inclusion of dal as a part of their daily meal.

In this article, we will discuss why is Dal Chawal famous as comfort food in Uttarakhand and how it has become a favorite of many tourists and visitors who visit Uttarakhand for an impeccable travel and food journey.

Dal Chawal History

Dal Chawal on a white plate

Dal came into the menu of the Indians even long before rice and wheat made it to their table as a staple food. During an archaeological survey it was found that Dal and lentil-based dishes were enjoyed by Indians during the early Harrapan period, which had began during the early 2800 BC with the establishment of first urban centers during that time. Although today, the cultivation of lentils can be seen in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and even West Bengal.

The dal which also known as lentil, these are divided into different varieties such as masoor, tur, urad, moong, chana dal that are known to be one of the main sources of providing protein, which eventually due to its nourishment in nutrients became a common dish in every household, but it didn’t stop with the households.

Yes , every farmer and every higher middle class merchant was having dal chawal at home. These dal were all created in a different a unique style by different households in different manner, some used it to make a dense gravy while some used it to make delicious salivating sweet, some used it to make a frothy soup and others would simply add in mashed rice to the Dal to turn into a nourishment meal for sick people.

While we were searching for the history of dal and lentil, through a blog source the better India, we found that a special dal was served during the time of Chandragupta Maurya’s wedding back in 303 BC which was a quite a similar variation to Ghugni. The Ghugni is a kind of thick lentil snack which is quite popular in Bihar and Jharkhand. It can be seen selling in street side shops as a breakfast option as it is filling and healthy meal to begin your day.

Toda, you can find dal chawal as meal in every home meanwhile street-side stalls and restaurants can be seen selling dal chawal to the visitors and travelers at a bare minimum price of Rs 35 to Rs 50. Yes, don’t be shocked by a simple plate of dal chawal costs only Rs 35 which is about $0. 42 cents in United States of America.

How much Lentils does India Produce?

different types of lentils  in a store in India

If you take a look as per the global production , then around pulses account for about 20% in the sector of food grains, The region of Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh in India is known to be the largest producer of lentil in India with a contribution of about 25% total production of lentils within India.

As per the records the lentil production of India was 1.28 million tons in 2022 which has now touched an all-time high of 1.6 million tons in the 2023-24 rabi season, which shows the production increase of 0.32 million tons.While India is the largest producer, it is also the largest consumer of lentils.

Reasons Why Dal chawal is a Comfort Food

Courtesy: YouTube /Rashida Hussain

Healthy

Dal chawal is not just any meal, it is also a healthy meal for many which is also great source of protein, Potassium and Iron. With a diverse population there comes a group within the population that is largely vegetarian with about 20 to 39% . In Indian homes, whenever a child gets sick, the mother prepares him a delicious meal of khichdi made from dal and chawal as it is known to help in the recovery of the body.

Brings people Together

In India we truly believe that sharing is caring, and this goes way beyond when it comes to food, as a traveler from abroad you will notice that the concept of sharing food doesn’t change in any states of India. Indian’s truly believe that sharing a warm bowl of dal chawal fosters good connection and harmony. Be it family or friends, sharing a dal chawal is a must that truly shows the huge cultural difference of the Indian community from that of the western culture.

Easy on the Stomach when traveling

It is quite easy to the stomach during the travel, it neither too filling nor too light which makes it the perfect meal to have during your travel. The dal chawal can be made more tasty by adding a touch of local desi ghee which is quite renowned in India. Ask any restaurant waiter to add in some extra ghee for you and they would do it happily.

Affordable meal

It is no doubt that when you are traveling , you definitely are on a budget which also give a lot of reason why many backpackers and travelers don’t indulge themselves in eating at a fancy and luxurious restaurant. But who cares when you have dal chawal! Dal chawal becomes your go-to affordable meal ranging anywhere from Rs 35 to Rs 50 for a plate.

Variety

When we speak of Dal chawal, no dal chawal is the same, every dal is different from other in terms of flavors, spices and vegetables that have been added into it to give it flavor. From creamy dal makhana to a hearty Khichdi , dal chawal offers to plethora of variations to choose from. So don’t be shy and do try which ever dal your heart and stomach selects.

Conclusion

Dal Chawal is a comfort food not just for locals but also travelers who travel within India. This dish is one of the heartiest meals one can have when traveling in India as compared to any other. As travel enthusiast and writer I can guarantee that there are many fancy dishes that you might have tried at your home town else wear but there is nothing more simplistic and homely as compared to our very own dal chawal.

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