Recreate Maunika's Sindhi dhal pakwan, then check out our tarka dhal, Maharashtrian amti dhal and more dhal recipes. Now find out from Maunika how to celebrate Holi.

Maunika says: “A classic recipe from the Sindhi community, this dish is commonly eaten at breakfast with pakwan (a crispy flatbread), some finely chopped onions and lemon juice sprinkled over. Sunday morning brunch with dhal pakwan has always been my favourite. For this recipe I have used amchoor (dried mango powder), which gives that tart/tangy flavour to the dhal. You can add a touch more tamarind paste if you are not using amchoor. Also, check the strength of the tamarind as you might add more or less depending on how sharp it is.”

Maunika Gowardhan is a chef, food writer and author of Indian Kitchen: Secrets of Indian Home Cooking and Thali: A Joyful Celebration of Indian Home Cooking. Follow her on Instagram @cookinacurry.


  • 200g chana dhal (split chickpea dhal)
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 small onions (150g), finely chopped
  • 2 bird's-eye green chillies, slit lengthwise
  • 2 plum tomatoes (100g) chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp kashmiri chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • ½ tsp amchoor (dried mango powder) (optional)
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves finely chopped
  • ½ large red onion (70g) finely chopped
  • 1 lemon juice

Pakwan (makes 8)

  • 75g plain flour
  • ⅛ tsp coarsely crushed cumin seeds
  • kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp melted butter
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying


  • STEP 1

    Put the dhal, turmeric, a pinch of salt and 1 litre of water in a small pan. Bring to a boil and simmer over a low heat for 50 mins. Turn off the heat and use a masher or the back of a spoon to mash the dhal roughly to form a coarse mixture.

  • STEP 2

    In a heavy-based, lidded pan, heat the ghee and fry the onions over a medium heat for 7 mins to soften. Add the chillies and stir well, then add the tomatoes, cooking for 3-4 mins or until broken down. Add the cumin, coriander powder, chilli powder and garam masala. Fry for 30 seconds then tip in the dhal. Stir and add the tamarind along with salt to taste. Simmer over a low heat for 15 mins with a lid on, stirring a couple of times. Turn off the heat and add the amchoor, if using, and coriander leaves.

  • STEP 3

    Start on the pakwan. Put the flour, cumin, chilli powder, butter and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix in 45ml of water a little at a time. Knead to form a smooth, soft dough. Rest the dough in the bowl, covered, for 10 mins. Fill a pan no more than a third full with the vegetable oil and heat to 170C. Divide the dough into four equal portions and roll out each to a 12cm circle. Prick each evenly with a fork – this will ensure the pakwan does not fluff up and will help it get crispy. Deep-fry two at a time for 2-3 mins on each side or until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm, covered in foil, while you make the remaining breads. Serve the dhal in a bowl topped with chopped onions and a few spoonfuls of lemon juice. Enjoy with the crispy pakwan.

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