Dalma is a traditional dish from the Indian state of Odisha.

It is a hearty and nutritious lentil and vegetable stew flavor with spices.

Dalma is typically served with steamed rice and staple in Odia cuisine.

The recipe below is a basic version of Dalma, but variations exist depending on personal preferences and regional differences.


  • 1 cup pigeon pea lentils (toor dal)
  • 1 medium-sized potato, diced
  • 1 medium-sized raw banana (or plantain), diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup chopped ash gourd (winter melon)
  • 1/2 cup chopped snake gourd
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 2-3 green chilies, slit (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2-3 dried red chilies
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (preferably mustard oil)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter) (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Water, as needed
  • Chopped coriander leaves for garnish


  • Wash the lentils (toor dal) thoroughly under running water until the water runs clear. Soak the lentils in water for about 30 minutes before cooking. This step is optional but can help reduce cooking time.
  • In a pressure cooker or a deep pot, add the soaked lentils, chopped potatoes, raw banana, carrot, pumpkin, ash gourd, snake gourd, and tomatoes.
  • Add enough water to cover the vegetables and lentils. Add turmeric powder and salt to taste. Mix well.
  • Close the pressure cooker or pot with a lid. If using a pressure cooker, cook for about 3-4 whistles or until the lentils and vegetables are fully cooked and tender. If using a pot, cook over medium heat until everything is well-cooked and softened. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and add water if necessary.
  • In a separate pan, heat the oil (mustard oil is traditionally used in Odia cuisine) until it reaches smoking point (smoking point for mustard oil is slightly higher). Then lower the heat.
  • Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, dried red chilies, and bay leaves to the hot oil. Let the spices crackle and release their aroma.
  • Add chopped onions, green chilies, ginger, and minced garlic (if using) to the pan. Sauté until the onions turn translucent and aromatic.
  • Pour this tempering (tadka) over the cooked lentil and vegetable mixture.
  • Mix well to incorporate the flavors of the tempering into the Dalma.
  • Add ghee (clarified butter) if using, and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Your Dalma is now ready to be served. Enjoy it hot with steamed rice for a delicious and wholesome meal. Dalma can also be enjoyed with roti or chapati if preferred.

Is Dalma and sambar same?

Dalma and Sambar are not the same dishes; they are two distinct lentil-based stews from different Indian states, each with its unique flavors and ingredients.

Dalma is a traditional dish from the state of Odisha, located in the eastern part of India. As described in the previous answer, Dalma is a hearty lentil and vegetable stew flavored with spices like mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and bay leaves. It typically includes various vegetables like potatoes, raw banana, pumpkin, ash gourd, and snake gourd.

On the other hand, Sambar is a popular dish from the southern states of India, such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala. It is a flavorful lentil-based stew made with pigeon peas (toor dal) and tamarind pulp. Sambar usually includes a variety of vegetables like drumsticks, eggplant, carrots, radish, tomatoes, and shallots. It is spiced with a special blend called Sambar powder, which includes ingredients like coriander seeds, red chili, fenugreek seeds, and other spices.

The primary difference between the two lies in the choice of ingredients, spice blends, and the regions they originate from. While both Dalma and Sambar are delicious lentil-based stews, they have distinct tastes and are part of the diverse culinary landscape of India.

Why is Dalma famous?


Dalma is famous for several reasons:

Traditional Odia Cuisine

Dalma is a significant and traditional dish in the state of Odisha, India. It holds cultural and historical importance and is an integral part of Odia cuisine. It reflects the rich culinary heritage of the region and is prepared and enjoyed in households and during festivals and special occasions.

Wholesome and Nutritious

Dalma is a hearty and nutritious dish. It combines lentils and various vegetables, providing a good balance of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. The use of different vegetables adds diversity to the dish, making it a healthy and well-rounded meal option.

Unique Flavor

The blend of spices used in Dalma, such as mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and bay leaves, gives it a distinct and delicious flavor. The tempering with mustard oil and other spices adds an authentic touch, making it a flavorful and aromatic dish.

Versatile Dish

Dalma can be easily customized based on the availability of vegetables and personal preferences. You can include a variety of seasonal vegetables, making it a versatile dish that can be adapted to different tastes and regions.

Easy to Prepare

While there might be some variations in the recipe, the basic Dalma preparation is relatively simple and doesn’t require any complex techniques. It can be cooked in a pressure cooker or a regular pot, making it accessible to home cooks of all skill levels.

Served with Rice

Dalma is traditionally served with steamed rice, which is a staple food in Odisha. The combination of Dalma and rice makes for a wholesome and fulfilling meal, satisfying both the taste buds and hunger.

Regional and Cultural Pride

Dalma is deeply rooted in the cultural identity of Odisha. It is a dish that evokes a sense of pride and nostalgia for the people of the state, reminding them of their heritage and traditions.

Popular During Festivals

Dalma is often prepared during festivals and auspicious occasions in Odisha. It is a common dish served during festivals like Durga Puja, Raja festival, and others. Its association with festive celebrations adds to its popularity.

Overall, the combination of its delicious taste, nutritional value, and cultural significance has contributed to the widespread fame and appreciation of Dalma both within Odisha and beyond its borders.

What is the history of the Dalma dish?

The history of the Dalma dish is deeply intertwined with the rich culinary and cultural heritage of the Indian state of Odisha. While there is no definitive historical account of when Dalma originated, it is believed to be an ancient dish that has been passed down through generations.

The name “Dalma” is said to have its roots in the Odia language, where “Dal” refers to lentils and “Ma” means cooked with. Therefore, Dalma essentially translates to “cooked with lentils.”

The dish’s history can be traced back to the agrarian society of Odisha, where lentils and vegetables were readily available ingredients. It is believed that the dish was developed as a wholesome and nutritious meal for the working class and farmers, providing them with the necessary sustenance to endure long hours of labor in the fields.


Dalma was also a way to use a variety of locally grown vegetables and lentils efficiently, making it a practical and economical choice for families. The use of mustard oil and regional spices in the tempering added unique flavors to the dish, reflecting the distinct culinary traditions of the region.

Over time, as Odisha’s culture evolved, Dalma became more than just a utilitarian meal. It became an integral part of Odia cuisine and a symbol of the state’s identity and heritage. The dish’s popularity spread beyond the rural areas and found its place in urban households and restaurants.

Dalma is not just a regular home-cooked meal; it is often prepared during festivals and special occasions. It has become a part of various cultural and religious celebrations in Odisha, further solidifying its significance in the state’s culinary landscape.

The recipe for Dalma may have evolved over the centuries, with families passing down their own variations and techniques. However, the core essence of the dish remains the same – a wholesome, nutritious, and flavorful lentil and vegetable stew that represents the heart and soul of Odia cuisine.

In recent years, with increased interest in regional Indian cuisines and a focus on preserving traditional dishes, Dalma has gained recognition beyond Odisha’s borders. It is now appreciated by people from different parts of India and around the world, further highlighting the historical and cultural importance of this delicious dish.

Is Dalma good for health?

Yes, Dalma is generally considered to be good for health due to its nutritious and wholesome ingredients. It is a lentil and vegetable stew that offers several health benefits:

  • High in Protein: Dalma is primarily made with lentils (toor dal), which are a good source of protein. Protein is essential for the growth and repair of tissues, making it important for overall health.
  • Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: The various vegetables used in Dalma, such as potatoes, raw banana, pumpkin, ash gourd, and snake gourd, provide a range of vitamins and minerals. These include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, and others, which support various bodily functions and help maintain good health.
  • Dietary Fiber: Lentils and vegetables used in Dalma are rich in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, promotes bowel regularity, and can help prevent constipation. Fiber also contributes to a feeling of fullness, which may be beneficial for weight management.
  • Low in Saturated Fat: Dalma is typically cooked with minimal oil, and mustard oil, which is commonly used, is considered healthier due to its unique composition of fatty acids. The dish is relatively low in saturated fat, making it a heart-friendly option.
  • Antioxidants: The blend of spices used in Dalma, such as mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and turmeric, contains natural antioxidants that help protect the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals.
  • Suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans: Dalma is a plant-based dish, making it an excellent protein source for vegetarians and vegans.


However, it’s important to note that the overall healthiness of Dalma also depends on how’s the preparation.

For example, using excessive oil or salt can affect its nutritional profile.

For the healthiest preparation, you can use minimal oil, choose fresh and seasonal vegetables, and control the amount of salt added.

Furthermore, if you have specific dietary restrictions or health conditions.

it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian.

So, to ensure that Dalma fits well into your individual dietary plan.

Overall, when prepared in a balanced and nutritious manner, Dalma can be a delicious and healthy addition to your diet. It offers a variety of essential nutrients, making it a popular choice for those seeking wholesome and nutritious meals.

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