Since we are celebrating Festive food at Beyond Curries this month (what else can you expect with Christmas and New Year knocking our doors) , its time to indulge and celebrate the festive spirit .

Today the focus is on Dal Pakwan, A typical Sindhi Breakfast, very very popular not only in Sindhi community but also among Non Sindhis residing in Sindhi Populated areas

The original inhabitants of ancient Sindh were believed to be aboriginal tribes speaking languages of the Indus Valley Civilization around 3000 BC. The ancient civilization centered around the towns whose modern names are Mohenjodaro and Harappa (both names are derived from the modern Sindhi language - the language of the Indus Valley Civilization remains undeciphered).(Wiki)

Originally belonging to Sindh (Pakistan), the Hindu Sindhis, migrated to India in huge numbers. Allotted the military camps to survive, with no food, no money, and no place or home of their own, our ancestors strive hard to survive. Away from home and away from family (many of family members were lost or separated in the riots and during migration) it was hard to retain family values, culture, art, food habits etc. The main focus was on earning bread and butter and finding some decent shelter, and amidst such chaos we almost lost our roots.

Today the young generation is unaware of our cultural heritage, our language, our rituals and the history of this ethnic group from Sindh, and that includes me too. Its hard to admit the fact that though good at spoken Sindhi, I still cannot read or write our mother tongue.

Things changed drastically post independence era in India, and with sheer hard work and persistence, our ancestors finally managed to prosper in adverse condition but not without giving up many of our traditional traits and rituals.

But some things remained unaffected and one such thing is love for food amongst Sindhis.
Almost synonym to Sindhi Food is the word Deep fried....yeah we love to fry our food(Oops I can see the raising eyebrows ) be the pakoras (Bhajji or deep fried gramflour dumplings) or Tikkis (Deep fried mashed potatoes).

And he/she cannot be a True Blooded Sindhi who hadn't yet tasted Dal Pakwan, a crispy fried Maida (All purpose flour) puri relished with mildly spiced, just cooked (not mashed) chanadal (bengal gram) with a dash of green chutney and a hint of sweet tamarind chutney. Ahh the taste!

This is a traditional breakfast dish made in Sindhi Homes during festivals or on special occasions or when a guest is supposed to be treated with authentic Sindhi Breakfast. A very heavy combination, this food keeps you filled for hours. Keep the calorie counting and Eat-only-healthy thoughts at bay for few moments and indulge straightaway!

Recipe: Dal Pakwan (Crisp Fried All purpose Flour Puris with Bengal Gram)
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:30 minutes
Shelf Life: Pakwan stay crisp for 2-3 days if stored in airtight containers,while dal must be consumed within a day or two (only if refrigerated)
Recipe Level: Medium
Spice Level: Medium
Recipe/Post by: Alka


For Pakwan

3 cups All purpose flour(Maida)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds/Ajwain (caraway)seeds
2-3 tbspn oil/Ghee (Ghee imparts authentic flavor and nice crispness)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Red chilly powder and /or Crushed Black pepper corns
Sufficient water to make a dough
Oil for deep frying

For Dal

250 gm chana dal (Husked Bengal Gram)
1 tsp cumin seeds
5-6 of curry leaves (karipatta)
One small tomato(optional)
5 green chillies
3 cups water
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1-2 tspn oil

For Garnishing

1 finely chopped Onion

Few spoons of sweet tamarind/ sonth chutney

Green mint and coriander chutney

Coriander leaves

Mango powder

Garam masala powder

Note: Its not necessary that you need to garnish Dal with all the above ingredients.Use what you have.Just a dash of any chutney and some chopped onions are fine to add Zing.



For pakwan:

  1. Sift the flour.
  2. Add cumin seeds/Ajwain, salt and add Ghee/oil.Mix well till bit crumbly, and little water at a time to make a dough.
  3. Dough should not be too hard nor too soft, a stiff pliable dough is just perfect.
  4. Let the dough rest for 15 min.
  5. Later,divide the dough into 11-12 small portions.
  6. Roll out each portion like a chapati
  7. Prick the surface with fork/ knife,so that it don’t puff out(This is mandatory, do not skip this step or you will end up with fluffed soft puris)
  8. Heat the oil till smoking point ,Slide in the Pakwan and carefully fry it,on medium or low flame till it turns crisp and light golden in color. Drain on absorbent paper to get rid of excess oil.
  9. Serve with hot dal.

For Dal:

  1. Pick, rinse dal and soak it for an hour.
  2. Pour 1-2 tspn oil in a cooker and allow it to heat. Add cumin seeds,curry leaves and green chillies and fry for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add grated tomato(optional) and fry it till cooked.
  4. Add dal, turmeric powder and salt.
  5. Add little water and close the lid of cooker
  6. Wait for Two whistles
  7. Open the lid,check the dal , it should be tender but not mushy.If not using tomato, add some tamarind extract at this stage.Mix well and cook for few minutes till flavors get mixed properly.
  8. While serving , sprinkle mango powder(Amchoor), chilly powder,coriander leaves and tamarind chutney and/or coriander chutney, and chopped onions
  9. Serve hot with crisp pakwans

Special Notes/Tips:

  • Make sure that the dough for pakwan is not too soft or else it wont be crisp
  • Always fry pakwan on medium to low heat(start with medium heat of flame and fry on low till crisp )
  • The Dal must be just cooked, so if you aren't sure of the pressure cooker you use, wait for one whistle, put off the gas, let the pressure subside, check if the dal is yet uncooked and accordingly either cook it more till one more whistle of cooker or let it simmer on low heat, without closing the lid , till dal becomes soft.

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  1. Priya Narasimhan // 25 December 2009 at 13:26  

    nice write up and a nice recipe.

  2. meeso // 25 December 2009 at 23:29  

    That's simple... I've never tried Pakwan, sounds yummy!

  3. egglesscooking // 26 December 2009 at 02:53  

    I'm getting to know a lot about Sindhi cuisine from you Alka. This one is new to me. Though we used to make something similar with atta and sooji, fry the pooris crisp, smash it and pour some hot milk over it and eat.

  4. PJ // 27 December 2009 at 02:43  

    Looks delicious and very nice info about Sindh traditions and cooking!