What is tadka dal?
Dal tadka is one of the signature dishes of Indian main course. You can never ever get bored of it. A good mix dal tadka dhaba style is a dish you will savor always. I always love having this dish with some matar pulao or a huge bowl of fried rice. Pair it with a Paneer curry or achari aloo, raita and a tandoori roti. This is a perfect vegetarian main course. I am already hungry as I write this 🙂
If you do not want to go elaborate with your menu, pair it with some fried poori or plain basmati rice. Also, this recipe of dal tadka is very similar to dal baati dal recipe. You just need to adjust the amount of water and spices to make it little watery for the dal baati.
Different types of lentil recipes
Dahl is a great source of protein for vegetarians. Do not forget to add a dash of lime juice on top. It increases the flavor as well as help in Iron absorption.
Generally, thoor dhal/tuvar daal/toor dahl is used to make it. However, we can used mixed lentils too. This improves nutrient value as well as makes it easy to digest it. You do not need a meat based diet to get your protein.
Lentils are easy to digest as well as cheap. A packet lasts long and makes multiple meals. You can make variety of dishes with lentils and never get bored.
Indian lentils for reference:
- Moong - yellow split lentils
- Sabut moong/Hari moong - green gram split lentils
- Chilke wali moong -split green gram
- Urad dal chilka- split black gram
- Kali /Maa ki dal - black gram whole lentils
- Urad - split black gram
- Toor /arhar - yellow pigeon peas split lentils
- Chana -split Bengal gram
- Masoor -red lentils
- Moth - Turkish gram
Other important ones are turai dhal, lauki chana dhal, daal makhni,Yellow dal recipe sambar, rasam, amti. Dal fry & jeera rice is a match made in heaven. Indian cuisine has a variety of lentils and many ways to use them. Be it as a curry, appetizer and even a dessert. See the space below to learn how to make mixed lentils.
- Mixed lentils -(chana, tuvar, masoor, moong). Chana dal comes in 2 colors(green and yellow), I have taken the green colored chana dal.
- Ginger-garlic- chilly
- Cumin seeds
- Spices -turmeric,red chilly powder, garam masala
- Ghee/oil if vegan
How to make dal tadka?
- Soak the mixed lentils in a bowl of water for 20-30 minutes.
- Cook them with water, tomatoes, salt and turmeric. Generally we add twice cups water to 1 cup of lentils. You can adjust according to your choice. Add a small bowl of water if you feel the dal is too thick later.
3. In a pan, heat oil or ghee and cook ginger, garlic, chilly with cumin.
4. Add onion and cook until golden brown. 5. Mash the cooked lentils.
6. Add onion mix to the lentils. Keep cooking for another 5 mins. Stir in between and let it come to a boil.
I have used pressure cooker here in this recipe. However, you can always use your instant pot for it. I am yet to try this in mine though. Will update the recipe card as soon as I do. 🙂
You may choose to just use a single variety of dal, for eg. massor (red lentil) and it will be called masoor dal tadka. Or use the yellow mung dal only and call it Yellow mung dal tadka
If you like your food spicy, increase the red chili powder in tempering. If you like your food mild, use paprika or Kashmiri red chilly powder which are a milder variety. You may also temper the red chilies separately along with a teaspoon cumin seeds in ghee/oil in a tadka pan. Always let the seeds splutter and then add the red chili and optionally, heeng Add it over the hot lentils for extra flavor.
You can use ghee for tempering instead of oil if you are vegetarian. Avoid using heeng or asafoetida in if gluten-free. You can also use a single lentil of your choice to make this recipe if you do not have all of the above at home.
You can cook lentils in any heavy bottom pan or even a slow cooker. You can use a instant pot or a pressure cooker too. The cook time will differ depending on the equipment. Check if the lentils are ready, by mashing a spoonful by using your thumb and index finger. Otherwise let it cook for 10-15 mins.
If you are short of time on a weeknight? Boil the lentils in a a bigger quantity which lasts two days together. Use half and remaining the next day. Always temper the lentils fresh, it tastes perfect. If you have lots of dhal left, strain it to use water for making rasam.Use the boiled lentil to make paratha.
Read more similar recipes
Read the recipe for punjabi dal tadka here.
Dal tadka recipe dhaba style
- pressure cooker
For yellow tadka dal recipe
- 1 cup mixed lentils Masoor (red lentil,tuvar/ arhar (pigeon peas),chana(Split chickpeas),mung)
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 2-3 tomatoes chopped
- 1 tablespoon green chilli garlic,ginger each
- 2-3 tablespoon Oil for tempering
- 1 teaspoon Coriander for garnish
- 2 cups water
How to boil mixed dhal
- Soak lentils in 3 cups of water for 4-6 hours.
- Pressure cook the lentils with chopped tomatoes,salt and turmeric.Keep it aside.
How to make tadka
- In a pan, heat oil, add cumin seeds and dried chillies and let it splutter.
- Add ginger,garlic,chilli and onions. Let it cook until onions are golden brown.
- Mash the lentils and add onions mixture to it.
- Let it come to a boil,garnish with chopped coriander leaves
- Optionally add some lemon juice if you prefer it to be bit sour.
- Serve hot with jeera rice/pulao.
Need more moong dal recipes?
Soaking helps absorb minerals better.