Dalcha … a dish of Indian origin but it has been adopted by the Malays for decades. Lving in a multi-racial society has made our food culture more interesting and widen our food knowledge and choices.   Over the years, most of us has developed a taste for other ethnics foods and with these come a culture of food exchange, which give more choices to all of us when it comes to food.

It is a dish that requires chana dhal, mutton or beef and tamarind juice. I don’t cook this often but when I do, it is usually done in a big pot. Any remainders will be kept in the fridge for breakfast.  Normally, our family would either eat this dish accompanied by rice, salted fish and sambal belacan (a spicy Malay condiment).  But there are times we would eat this dish with french loaves. Yumss!!

To cook dalcha, I need these ingredients :

1 kg of ox ribs or goat ribs (rusuk lembu atau kambing) – washed clean and boil in water till tender. I would usually skim the top for excess oil from the ribs.

1 bowl of chana dal – soak for a while or can just wash clean and boil together with the ribs after the ribs are semi-tender.  These 2 ingredients must be boil till soften before adding the other ingredients.


– 1 Onions, 2 tomatoes, 1 lemongrass, 1 red and green chillies each, 2 screw pine leaves, 1 cinnamon stick and 2 cloves (top-left pic)

– 2 packets of spice mix powder for dalcha (Kak Zah’s brand)

– 1 bowl of blended onions (3), garlics (3) and ginger (2 cm)

– 3 stalks of coriander leaves (cut about 2-3 cm lengthwise)

While waiting for the ribs and dal to be tender, take a small wok, heat up some oil, then fry the slices onions together with the lemongrass, screw pine leaves, cinnamon and cloves. Fry for about 5-8 mins.  Next, pour in the blended ingredients, stir and then add in the mix powder for dalcha. Stir and let it fry for about 8-10 mins.  Keep stirring so that the paste do not stick to the wok. Once it has become fragrant, off the fire. Leave it aside.


– 2 carrots, 5 potatoes, 1 brinjal, cut as shown in top pic

– 6-8 long beans (as shown in bottom left pic)

– 2 small packets of Santan Kara (coconut milk) or pour 2 ladle full of coconut milk

– 1 bowl of tamarind juice (pic not available) + enough water

– salt to taste

Back to the pot of ribs and dal … once the ribs are tender, add in the carrots and potatoes.  Add water if necessary but not too much cos later will add tamarind juice to the pot.

Once carrots and potatoes are tender, add the dalcha spice paste from the wok just now, add in the brinjal, after 5 mins add in the long beans. Then pour the tamarind juice, coconut milk, salt to taste, cut red and green chillies, tomatoes and coriander leaves.  Stir and let it simmer for a while. Then off the fire and its ready to be serve.


The cooked Dalcha ….  🙂


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