Dinner, Lunch

Dhudi Dal and Pillau Quinoa

I have always loved dal and pillau rice! It is a staple food in the Indian state of Gujarat and our staple Saturday lunchtime dish! I remember as a kid (and even now as a big kid!), being intoxicated by the mix of spices emanating from mum cooking the rice, the aroma filling the house, and reaching my bedroom or my office now where I work! This always made my stomach growl and I would end up eating at least half a plate of the rice before adding in the dal!

Nowadays, it’s a different type of smell due to my health and fitness issues and goals with my no-refined-carbs policy! So, quinoa is how I roll!

My mum’s dal is something I have grown up loving, however, since de-carbing my diet, I know I have to increase the nutritional value of all of my foods, and that means increasing the greens! So I thought about adding European vegetables to the dal but decided to stay true with okra and then mum suggested dhudi, or the calabash/lauki/Asian melon, which is high in vitamin C, perfect for the immune system as well as the joints!

Again, I have included all of my favourite ingredients which are onions, red onions, spring onions, garlic, ginger and of course chilli! This mix, any meal can be Spiced Up By Bilal’s methods 🙂



Dal and Qjuinoa
Dal and Qjuinoa



Dhudi Dal

100 g toor dal/pigeon pea

6 lamb chops

½ onion

½ red onion

2 spring onions

4 cloves garlic (I love garlic in my food)

1 cm haldi

1 cm of ginger

1 red chilli

1 green chilli

6 okra aka lady’s fingers

½ dhud/calabash/lauki

1 spoon dried coriander

Olive oil



½ tin of chopped tomatoes (you can use fresh if you wish but it’s quicker and easier to use a can!)

2 litres of filtered water, boiled.


Pillau Quinoa

100 g quinoa

25 g chana dal/split chick peas

1 onion

4 cardamom seeds

8 cloves

8 black pepper seeds

200 mL of filtered water, boiled.


Olive oil



Dhudi Dal

  1. In a large saucepan, add 500mL filtered boiling water and add in the 100 g toor dal. Stir, cover with lid and allow to boil on ¾ heat for at least 30 minutes until all the toor dal have split;
  2. Continue to check on the large saucepan every 10 minutes or so for water and stir (add more water if you need, and trust me, you will need to! With the rest of the boiled water in the kettle, prepare a cup of tea!);
  3. In a small saucepan slice and dice in the onions (hold back the green leaves of the spring onions until the end), add the garlic (I cut the garlic knobs up, press them in a garlic crusher and add them directly into the saucepan), chopped ginger and haldi, and allow the onions to brown whilst continuing to stir;
  4. Add in the spice mix of cardamom, black pepper, cloves and cinnamon sticks;
  5. Once the onions brown, and the half tin tomatoes and continue to stir gently until the tomato cooks through, evaporating off the water;
  6. Check on the toor dal (should be done around the 30-minute mark), and if the toor dal have popped, add in the contents of the small saucepan, chop in the red and green chillies (add them later at point 8 if you want your mung less spicy) add ½ teaspoon of salt and stir;
  7. Add in the okra and slice in the dhudi (be sure to remove the skin!), stir and cover with the lid and to cook for about 15 minutes;
  8. Turn the heat down to a quarter, taste the toor dal and add salt and black pepper to taste;
  9. Add the chopped spring onion leaves and cover for 5 minutes;
  10. Feel free to add fresh coriander to finish and you are ready to eat!


Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Eating time: 15 minutes

Serves up to 4 people

I made enough for mum and I to eat again!


Pillau Quiona

  1. Begin making your quinoa preparations at point 1 of cooking the dal by soaking the chana dal in boiling water and covering it so it is partially cooked by the time you cook the quinoa;
  2. In a saucepan on ¾ heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil (put the water on to boil);
  3. Slice and dice in the onion and stir, sauté until the onions caramelise;
  4. Add in the spice mix of cardamom, black pepper, cloves and cinnamon sticks;
  5. Add in the boiling water and a ½ teaspoon of salt;
  6. Add the quinoa and chana dal and stir gently. I gently rinse the quinoa several times in lukewarm water until all the dust disappears, and then drain it before adding it to the saucepan;
  7. Allow the quinoa to simmer, turn the heat down to a quarter, and cover with the lid;
  8. Check on it 3 to 5 minutes later and gently turn the quinoa over with a plastic or wooden spoon to ensure you keep your quinoa seeds in tact;
  9. Repeat step 8 until the quinoa is cooked and all the water evaporates;
  10. You are now ready to eat!


Preparation time: 2 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves up to 2 people –I made enough dal to last us another day and my mother and I like to eat our quinoa fresh!

Let me know how you get on and please feel free to provide feedback 🙂


Dhodi Dal and Pillau Quinoa!
Dhodi Dal and Pillau Quinoa!

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