Dal Tadka

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Finally finally I’m sharing a dal (lentil) recipe on my blog. Just few days back I was talking to my hubby and he casually asked “you don’t have any dal recipes on your blog? you make it everyday!” and that got me thinking! It is true that I make dal almost every other day and still there isn’t a single dal recipe on the blog. I do not know the reason behind this, maybe I thought it’s too simple to share or maybe I was plain lazy clicking something which I make very often. Anyway so finally here it is – the first dal recipe on the blog and it happens to be my absolute favorite- Dal Tadka.

I grew up eating dal every day, yes everyday of my life, 365 days a year. I belong to a state called Uttar Pradesh in India and there in every household yellow dal has to be made everyday. So we ate 1 bowl full of plain yellow dal everyday for lunch and by yellow dal I mean only toor dal (split pigeon pea lentil) simply cooked with salt and turmeric, no tempering, nothing! However now that I manage my own kitchen, I like to add some tempering to my dal and that is the reason I love dal tadka so much. It’s light, delicious and pretty easy to make.

Dal Tadka can be made using only toor dal or using a combination of other lentils. For this recipe I combined 3 of them – toor (split pigeon pea), chana (split garbanzo beans) and mung (split mung beans). People use different combinations, some also use masoor dal (split pink lentils). So you can mix and match as per your taste. This is the combination that I like the most for dal tadka.

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I first cooked the dals with little turmeric and salt in a pressure cooker. You can alternatively also cook in a pan but it will take more time and Indians can’t just do without a pressure cooker anyway! After the dal is cooked it’s mixed with the “masala” which is essentially onions and tomatoes cooked with dry spices. The final step which is “tempering” or what we call “tadka” is the most important step in my opinion for making a good dal fry. I’ll be honest here, ghee in tempering = great dal tadka! I used 50% oil and 50% ghee to temper but I highly recommend using all ghee, it is what makes this dal so delicious!

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Method

Take all the three dals in a pressure cooker – toor dal, chana dal and mung dal.

Rinse and add 3.5 cups of water, turmeric powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Close the cooker and cook on high heat for 1 whistle, then lower the flame to medium and cook for another 6-7 minutes.

Once the pressure has come off, open the cooker. The dals will be cooked by now, if you want you can mash them using a ladle. Set aside.

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In a pan heat oil on medium heat. Once the oil is hot add black peppercorn and cloves. Saute for 30 seconds.

Add the chopped onion and green chilli. Saute till onions are translucent, around 2 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a 2 minutes.

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Now add the dry spices – coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala and salt and give a good mix.

Cover and the cook the onion-tomato masala for around 8 minutes or till there’s no raw smell and spices are well incorporated in the masala.

Once the masala is done, add the cooked dal to it and mix. Also add paprika powder (optional) and water and let it come to a boil. Adjust consistency of the dal according to preference (thick or thin). I added 1  cup of water at this stage. Also check the salt and adjust accordingly.

Dal-Tadka-Recipe-Step-3-notitle-cwmIn another small pan, heat ghee or oil on medium heat. Once hot add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds first. Once they crackle, add whole red chillies, chopped ginger and garlic.

Saute till garlic and ginger is light golden brown in color. Be careful not to burn it.

Add the tempering to the dal and give a good mix. Also add the lemon juice (optional).

Dal-Tadka-Recipe-Step-4-notitle-cwmGarnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve the dal tadka hot with rice or naan.

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* Please adjust the spice level to taste. Me and hubby do not enjoy spicy food hence my recipes have minimal usage of green and red chillies.

* You can use any combination of dal that you like, I prefer using these 3.

* For tempering, you can also add curry leaves, hing (asafoetida) etc.

* Using lemon juice is optional, if you love tang in your dishes – go for it, however use fresh lemon juice only.

* This recipe is all vegan except the last tempering bit where we use 1 teaspoon of “ghee” (clarified butter). Just use oil in place and follow the rest of steps as it is for a 100% vegan version.

Dal Tadka

Dal Tadka - a flavorful combination of 3 lentils cooked with onion, tomatoes & Indian spices. Great with Indian breads or rice!
Cuisine Indian
Servings: 3
Calories: 318 kcal
Author: Manali
5 from 1 vote
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Ingredients

For the dal

  • ½ cup toor dal, split pigeon peas lentil
  • ¼ cup chana dal, split garbanzo beans
  • ¼ cup moong dal [split mung bean]
  • 3.5 cups + 1 cup water [1 cup to be added later]
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 onion, medium, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, medium, finely chopped
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika powder
  • 4 black peppercorn
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • salt to taste

To temper

  • 2 garlic big cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 whole dried red chili
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seed
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon ghee, clarified butter
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • garam masala, to sprinkle

Instructions

Dal

  1. Take all the three dals in a pressure cooker - toor dal, chana dal and mung dal.
  2. Rinse and add 3.5 cups of water, turmeric powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  3. Close the cooker and cook on high heat for 1 whistle, then lower the flame to medium and cook for another 6-7 minutes.
  4. Once the pressure has come off, open the cooker. The dals will be cooked by now, if you want you can mash them using a ladle. Set aside.
  5. In a pan heat oil on medium heat. Once the oil is hot add black peppercorn and cloves. Saute for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the chopped onion and green chilli. Saute till onions are translucent, around 2 minutes.
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a 2 minutes.
  8. Now add the dry spices – coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala and salt and give a good mix.


  9. Cover and the cook the onion-tomato masala for around 8 minutes or till there’s no raw smell and spices are well incorporated in the masala.

  10. Once the masala is done, add the cooked dal to it and mix. Also add paprika powder (optional) and 1 cup water and let it come to a boil.
  11. Check the salt and adjust accordingly.

Tempering/Tadka

  1. In another small pan, heat ghee or oil on medium heat.
  2. Once hot add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds first. Once they crackle, add whole red chillies, chopped ginger and garlic.
  3. Saute till garlic and ginger is light golden brown in color. Be careful not to burn it.
  4. Add the tempering to the dal and give a good mix. Also add the lemon juice (optional).
  5. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve the dal tadka hot with rice or naan.
Nutrition Facts
Dal Tadka
Amount Per Serving
Calories 318 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 74mg 3%
Potassium 761mg 22%
Total Carbohydrates 47g 16%
Dietary Fiber 21g 84%
Sugars 5g
Protein 17g 34%
Vitamin A 7.4%
Vitamin C 62.7%
Calcium 6.1%
Iron 31.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Dal Tadka

Dal Tadka Collage

4 thoughts on “Dal Tadka

  1. Hi Manali!!

    What do you do with the following spices??

    1 teaspoon coriander powder
    ¼ teaspoon garam masala
    ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
    ¼ teaspoon paprika powder
    4 black peppercorn
    1 black cardamom
    2 cloves

    No mention of it anywhere in the recipe.

    1. sorry it’s not in the print version…I missed on copying the steps in recipe box..but the spices are mentioned in the step by step pictures in the blog post. I have fixed it now, sorry for the inconvenience.

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