Thecha Dal (Lentil Dal with Blistered Green Chili Garlic Chutney)

7 min read

Thecha dal, an Indian red lentil dal that you know and love with a spicy, nutty, umami-packed addition! Blistered chilies garlic are pounded with peanuts to make a chili chutney, and swirled to the lentil soup to make a flavorful dal!

Table of Contents

Thecha is a green chili condiment often served alongside many Indian dishes. This green chili chutney from the Indian state of Maharashtra is the preferred side with flatbreads like Bhakri( millet or sorghum flatbread). It is a spicy, nutty mix of green chilies, garlic, and peanuts, lightly blistered and then ground up with a mortar and pestle into a coarse mixture.

We make the Thecha chutney from scratch. It is a delicious spicy garlic chili chutney! You can also serve it as a side, like a chutney, or add to sandwiches or to your Indian spread.

In this Lentil dal, Thecha, the roasted green chili, garlic, peanut condiment gets swirled into this dal for a complex flavor and comforting meal!

Use whichever lentils of choice and make double protein of Thecha to use later in sandwiches or on garlic bread!

close-up of thecha dal in the skillet next to the mortar of thecha

Why You’ll Love Thecha Dal

  • cozy Indian dal with flavorful garlic-chili-peanut topping
  • easy, 30 minute meal
  • naturally soy-free and gluten-free

More Vegan Dal Recipes

Recipe Card

Save This Recipe in Your Inbox

Share your email and we will send this recipe! Plus, enjoy all the new recipes as they post!

By submitting this form, you consent to receive emails from Vegan Richa.

close-up of thecha dal in the skillet

Print Recipe

Thecha Dal- Lentil Dal with Blistered Chilies and Garlic

Thecha dal, an Indian red lentil dal that you know and love with a spicy, nutty, umami-packed addition! Blistered chilies garlic are pounded with peanuts to make a chili chutney, and swirled to the lentil soup to make a flavorful dal!

Prep Time15 minutes

Cook Time15 minutes

Total Time30 minutes

Course: Main

Cuisine: Indian

Keyword: maharashtrian hirvi mirchi cha thecha, thecha recipe

Servings: 4

Calories: 248kcal

Author: Vegan Richa

Ingredients

For the dal:

  • 1 cup (180 g) split red lentils washed and drained, or other lentils such as moong dal lentils, toor dal
  • 3 cups (709.76 ml) water or broth
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne or paprika
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Optional dal additions:

  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup (118.29 ml) coconut milk

For the thecha:

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 6-7 Serrano chilies or Indian long chilies or other green chilies of choice
  • 4 to 5 cloves of garlic
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons unroasted or roasted unsalted peanuts
  • generous pinch of salt

Instructions

Make the dal.

  • Add the drained lentils and the rest of the dal ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Partially cover and cook until the lentils are cooked to your preference. 13-17 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and flavor. Add ½ cup of water or coconut milk, if needed for preferred consistency, and mix in. You can also add the chopped tomato and cilantro at this point and mix them in.

Make the thecha while the dal cooks.

  • Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the oil. Once the oil is hot increase the heat to medium-high and add the green chilies. Cook until the green chilies are slightly brown and blistered. Add the garlic and toss for a few seconds then add the cumin seeds, toss those for a few seconds and add the peanuts. Add a generous pinch of salt and mix really well and switch off the heat.

  • Keep stirring for the next few seconds to cook the garlic and peanuts in the remnant pan heat, until they get golden.

  • Once the mixture has slightly cooled down, transfer it to a mortar and pestle and then press and mix to break down all the peanuts until you achieve a coarse mixture.  You can also use a small food processor and process it until you achieve a coarse mixture.

Serve the thecha dal.

  • When the dal is ready, switch off the heat, then top the dal with spoonfuls of thecha and just swirl the thecha into the dal but do not mix in entirely. Garnish with some cilantro and lemon juice and serve with rice, flatbread, or roti.

Notes

Thecha dal is naturally soy-free and gluten-free.
For peanut-free, use cashews, For nut-free, use sunflower seeds instead of peanuts. 
Saucepan Cooking time for other lentils. Moong dal lentils will need 22-26 minutes. Toor dal, 30 minutes or longer. Brown lentils 40 minutes or longer. 
Instant pot cooking time: split red lentils, 3 mins , Moong dal lentils  6 minutes, toor dal, 10 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 10 mins then quick release 
 
 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts

Thecha Dal- Lentil Dal with Blistered Chilies and Garlic

Amount Per Serving

Calories 248
Calories from Fat 63

% Daily Value*

Fat 7g11%

Saturated Fat 2g13%

Sodium 327mg14%

Potassium 600mg17%

Carbohydrates 33g11%

Fiber 15g63%

Sugar 2g2%

Protein 14g28%

Vitamin A 427IU9%

Vitamin C 11mg13%

Calcium 47mg5%

Iron 4mg22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Did you make this recipe?Please do leave a comment and rating below.. Tag me on Instagram @veganricha
chilis, garlic, peanuts, and cumin seeds in bowls on the kitchen counter

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • red lentils – The base for this simple dal.
  • water – To cook the lentils. You can use broth for even more flavor.
  • ground spices – Turmeric, cayenne or paprika, garam masala, and salt season the dal.
  • optional additions – You can add a chopped tomato, some cilantro, and some coconut milk to the dal, if you want.
  • thecha – Blistered green chilis and toasted garlic, cumin, and peanuts with a little bit of salt make the topping for the dal. You can use Serranos or Indian green chilis or other green chilis of choice.
  • garnishes – Cilantro and lemon juice finish the dish.

Tips

  • When making the thecha, make sure that you cook the chilis properly. The skin should start turning brown and be blistering before you add the garlic and other thecha ingredients.
  • You can use a mortar and pestle or a food processor to break down the thecha into a coarse mixture, not a paste.
  • Don’t mix the thecha into the dal completely. Part of the joy of this dish is the texture and flavor contrast.

How to Make Thecha Dal

First, make the dal.

Add the drained lentils and the rest of the dal ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Partially cover and cook until the lentils are cooked to your preference. 13-17 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and flavor.

red lentils and water in a green skillet
spices and lentils stirred into the water in a green skillet, before cooking

Add ½ cup of water, if needed, and mix in. You can also add the chopped tomato and cilantro at this point and mix them in. 

red lentil dal in a skillet, after cooking

Make the thecha while the dal cooks.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the oil. Once the oil is hot increase the heat to medium-high and add the green chilies.

chilis in the pan before cooking

Cook until the green chilies are slightly brown and blistered.

Add the garlic and toss for a few seconds then add the cumin seeds, toss those for a few seconds and add the peanuts. Add a generous pinch of salt and mix really well and switch off the heat.

adding garlic to the pan of blistered chilis
adding remaining thecha ingredients to the pan

Keep stirring for the next few seconds to cook the garlic and peanuts until they get golden. 

whole thecha ingredients in the pan after cooking

Once the mixture has slightly cooled down, transfer it to a mortar and pestle and then press and mix to break down all the peanuts until you achieve a coarse mixture.  You can also use a small food processor and process it until you achieve a coarse mixture.

whole thecha ingredients in the mortar, before grinding
whole thecha ingredients in the mortar, after grinding

When the dal is ready, switch off the heat, then top the dal with spoonfuls of thecha and just swirl the thecha into the dal but do not mix in entirely. 

red lentil dal in a skillet, after cooking and topping with thecha

Garnish with some cilantro and lemon juice and serve with rice, flatbread, or roti.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is thecha?

Thecha is an Indian green chili condiment. It is a spicy, nutty mix of blistered green chilies, toasted garlic, and toasted peanuts ground with a mortar and pestle into a coarse mixture.

Is this recipe allergy friendly?

Thecha dal is naturally soy-free and gluten-free. It does contain nuts. To make it without peanuts, use sunflower seeds instead

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours