An all-time favourite, this dish is exotic, colourful and wholesome. A great dish for vegetarian guests. It was a favourite of Emperor Aurangzeb.


  • 500 gm long grain rice
  • 250 gm split Bengal gram
  • 180 gm onions, finely sliced
  • 60 gm dry apricots, de-stoned
  • 60 gm dry plums, de-stoned
  • 60 gm dry prunes, de-stoned
  • 60 gm fresh coriander, chopped
  • 30 gm fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 2-3 cup oil
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp black cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorn
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 4 green chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cardamoms
  • 1 stick cinnamon piece of 1/2-inch
  • Juice of 2-3 lemons
  • A pinch of saffron, dissolved in rose water
  • Salt to taste


  1. Pick and wash lentil, soak in water for 20 minutes.
  2. Boil in just enough water with salt and a pinch of turmeric, till tender.
  3. Wash and soak rice for 20 minutes. Parboil rice with salt. Drain the water and spread rice in a flat dish cover and keep aside.
  4. Soak apricots, plums and prunes for 15 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
  5. In a pan, heat oil, fry slices of onions till golden brown, remove half and keep aside.
  6. Add ginger and garlic paste to the pan and stir-fry till golden. Add turmeric and stir.
  7. Add yoghurt, stir-fry. Add 2 deseeded green chillies.
  8. Add lentils and red chilli powder, fry for 2 minutes, add apricots, plums and prunes, cover the pan and simmer.
  9. Take a heavy-bottomed pan, brush the bottom with oil, spread half of the parboiled rice. Spread lentil mixture over the rice. Sprinkle ground spices, half of the mint, coriander, green chilli and lemon juice.
  10. Cover with remaining rice, sprinkle milk, saffron, fried onions, remaining mint, coriander and green chilli, lemon juice. Dot the rice with ghee, cover the pan and cook on low heat (dum) until steaming hot.

Excerpted with permission from Pull of Pulses: Full of Beans, Salma Husain & Vijay Thukral, Niyogi Books.

Salma Husain

Salma Husain

Salma Husain is a passionate cook, food historian and a Persian scholar. She has appeared on Indian television and worked with celebrity chef Gary Rhodes on a British TV show. Salma writes on food for popular journals and newspapers and has award-winning books to her credit.

See more
Vijay Thukral

Vijay Thukral

Vijay Kumar Thukral has been in the hospitality industry for more than 35 years. Trained in Food Craft and Food Production (Cookery), he supervised the India International Centre's F&B section, specially contributing to IIC special dinners and food festivals.

See more