Dal Bhat: The Power Meal that Sustains for 24 Hours

Dal Bhat

The traditional Nepali dish known as the Dal Bhat has more than one meaning — nourishment, survival and cultural identity all included. This food manages to etch its story in every bit of masala and with a pinch of salt making it a staple food not only in the household of Nepali but also an adored dish among the travellers seeking adventure and beauty in the Nepal region.

What is Dal Bhat?

Dal Bhat means the complete food “Dal Bhat Tarkari” which represents the essence of Nepali cuisine as it is a satisfying and healthy meal. Let’s delve into its three key components

Dal (Lentil Soup): The dal, which is lentil soup, is the core of this hearty dish. It is a plain yet flavorful blend of lentils cooked with aromatic Nepali spices and vegetables that make a mouthwatering broth that soothes one’s body and soul with every swallow.

The popular types of Dal you can find in Nepal are:

  • Musuro ( red lentil), 
  • Rahar dal ( red gram),
  • Mas ko dal ( black gram)
  • Moong dal ( green gram).

Bhat (Rice): Bhat, or steamed rice, is an ideal side dish for dal. Soft and fluffy, it becomes a good foundation for a meal, and then you can enjoy the rich flavors of the dal and tarkari.

Tarkari: Tarkari refers to a vegetable curry or meat curry. This disc adds a wonderful color and taste to a plate. Besides dal and rice “Tarkari” makes the complete traditional Nepali food. 

Let’s know the famous types of Tarkari that are served in restaurants;

  • Aloo Tarkari(Potato curry)
  • Gobi Tarkari(Cauliflower curry)
  • Saag Tarkari(Leafy green vegetable curry)
  • Mula Tarkari(Radish curry)
  • Chana Tarkari(Chickpea curry)
  • Paneer Tarkari(Cottage cheese curry)
  • Masu Tarkari(Meat curry)
  • Matar Tarkari(Pea curry)
  • Bandhakopir Tarkari(Cabbage curry)
  • Tama Tarkari(Bamboo shoot curry)

The “Dal Bhat Tarkari” together is not just a meal, but it is a celebration of Nepali cultures and traditions. Whether by family or friends, the shared meal has a special way of creating warmth and a feeling of connectedness in people. Hence, when you visit Nepal for either Trekking, Tour, and Sightseeing don’t forget to taste the traditional Nepali Dal-bhat. All travelers who come here to visit can enjoy this dish at a very low price. 

The Essence of Dal Bhat:

The main principle of “Dal Bhat” is that it is a simple yet nourishing dish that is made of lentil soup (dal) rice (Bhat) and various side dishes that help the dish to be more tasty. Amid the many components, the balance of flavors, textures, and nutrition is what makes the Dal Bhat a nutritional superfood.

The Power of Nutrition:

Another striking characteristic of the Dal Bhat is that it is nutritious. During the cooking of dal, the main component is lentils which contain plenty of protein, fibre, and vitamins to maintain energy levels. Combined with rice, which is the most compatible source of carbohydrates in the world, Dal Bhat acts as a complete and balanced meal that keeps hunger at bay for hours.

On the same note, the flexibility of Dal Bhat comes with boundless types such as vegetables, greens, pickles, and meats that fit various diets and nutritional needs. Such flexibility indicates that Dal Bhat will remain a fulfilling and pleasurable meal for people of all ages and from all walks of life.

Cultural Significance:

Apart from the nutritious content of Dal Bhat, this mouth-watering food has immense cultural value in Nepal. That’s not only about food. It’s about being together as a community, demonstrating welcome and experiences. In a Nepali house, the making and sharing of Dal Bhat is a ceremony that unites families, which amounts to bonds and practices that have been passed down to generations by tradition.

Moreover, the Dal Bhat symbolizes the Nepali people’s skill to make do and be tough. Resources are rare in the region but Dal Bhat proves that the people of Nepal have mastered the art of cooking enriching and satisfying meals with few simple ingredients.

Dal Bhat: A Traveler’s Dream

For the tourists exploring the magnificent Himalayas of Nepal, Dal Bhat is actually a journey not just a meal. On walking routes and in little villages, tea houses and local eat-outs provide boiling plates of Dal Bhat making trekkers tired not only have food but also a taste of Nepali culture as well.

For a lot of travelers, the ritual of enjoying Dal Bhat after a tiring trekking day remains a priceless memory, a chance for them to not only be nourished physically but also to connect with the land and its people. Whether you eat it with the mountains covered by snow-capped peaks in the Annapurna Region or with the lush valleys in the base camp of Everest, it leaves a mark on the palate and the soul.

Famous trekking destination in Nepal:

Learn how to make Simple Bhat recipe:


  • 2 cups of white rice (preferably Jeera Masino or basmati )
  • 4 cups of water
  • Ghee or vegetable oil (optional, for added flavor)


1. Rinse the rice: Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This helps remove excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming sticky when cooked.

2. Soak the rice (optional): Some people prefer to soak the rice in water for about 30 minutes before cooking. This can help the rice cook more evenly and become fluffier. However, this step is optional.

3. Cook the rice:

  • In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
  • Once the water is boiling, add the rinsed rice to the pot.
  • You can start with about 1 teaspoon of salt for 2 cups of rice and adjust according to your preference.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and let the rice simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. 
  • Fluff the rice: Once the rice is cooked, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered, for a few minutes. Then, use a fork to fluff the rice gently to separate the grains.

4. Serve: Traditional Nepali Bhat is often served alongside dal (lentil soup), vegetables, pickles, and sometimes meat or fish dishes. You can also drizzle some ghee or vegetable oil over the rice for added flavor before serving.

Learn How To Make Deliciously Simple Dal Recipe:


  • 1 cup of your favourite lentils (like masoor dal, toor dal, moong dal, or a mix)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • A small piece of ginger, grated (about an inch)
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped (adjust according to your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons of your preferred cooking oil or ghee


  1. Begin by gently rinsing your lentils under cool water until the water looks clean.
  2. Pour in your rinsed lentils and add 3 cups of water to a pot. Let them snuggle up together as they come to a gentle boil over medium heat.
  3. Take another pan and gently warm your cooking oil or ghee over a medium flame. Let it shimmer with anticipation.
  4. Now, sprinkle in the cumin seeds and let them change colour in the oil until they release their fragrant aroma.
  5. Add the finely chopped onions to the pan and let them mix well
  6. Put the minced garlic, grated ginger, and finely chopped green chilli and mix it well
  7. Then carefully add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and a sprinkle of salt to the pan. Let them simmer and mingle until the flavours are blended.
  8. By now, your lentils should be ready. Introduce them to the mixture in the pan, allowing them to embrace each other with warmth and flavour.
  9. Let them simmer together for a few more moments allowing their flavors to intertwine.
  10. Taste your creation and add salt if needed.
  11. Just before serving, sprinkle over some freshly chopped cilantro leaves, adding a touch of freshness and colour to your dish.
  12. Serve your dal warm, with a side of fluffy rice or your favorite bread, and savor each spoonful of this comforting, soul-nourishing dish.

Top 5 Restaurants to Try Dal-bhat in Kathmandu

  1. Nepal Chulo
  2. Bhojan Griha
  3. Thakali Bhanchha Ghar
  4. Jimbu Thalkali
  5. Krishnarpan Restaurant


In the world of endless food extravagance and temporary fashion trends, Dal Bhat represents a mark of simplicity, sustainability, and nutrition. Its ability to keep the body and soul going for 24 hours is a manifestation of the toughness and the acceptance by Nepali people, and its cultural significance surpasses borders and boundaries.

This dish, whether eaten at home or in the midst of the breathtaking landscapes of the Himalayas, symbolizes the wonderful ability of food to nourish, bring people together and inspire people. Hence, whenever you want to eat something that not only quenches the hunger but also makes you feel better. Remember the timeless truth about Dal Bhat: it gives you energy that lasts all day long.

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