Clara Le.

Dal Tadka

Published on
Cover Image for Dal Tadka


For 4 servings:

  • 1 cup toor dal 200 grams, also known as arhar dal/split pigeon peas lentil
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt divided, adjust to taste
  • 3.5 cups water divided
  • 4 large garlic cloves divided
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 green chili
  • 1.5 tablespoons ghee 22 ml, also known as clarified butter or use oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds crushed in mortar pestle
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 medium red onion 150 grams, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon red chili powder or adjust to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi crushed, dried fenugreek leaves


  • 2 teaspoons ghee 10 ml
  • 2 large garlic cloves chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon hing also known as asafoetida
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • ¼ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder optional


  1. To a pressure cooker add toor dal along with turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt and 3 cups water.
  2. Pressure cook for 4 whistle on high heat then lower the heat and let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. If using an Instant Pot, cook on high pressure for 8 minutes with natural pressure release. Set it aside.
  3. Meanwhile crush 4 large garlic cloves, 1-inch ginger and green chili in a mortar pestle and set it aside.
  4. In a heavy bottom pan, heat ghee on medium heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds, crushed coriander seeds and cloves. Saute for few seconds until fragrant.
  5. Then add onions, cook for around 3 to 4 minutes until they are soft and start changing color.
  6. Add the crushed garlic-ginger-green chili. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the raw smell goes away.
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix. Cover and cook for 7 to 8 minutes until tomatoes are very soft and cooked.
  8. Then add the coriander powder, garam masala, kashmiri red chili powder, red chili powder, cilantro and kasuri methi. Stir the spices with the masala for few 30 seconds.
  9. Add the boiled dal to the pan and mix. I also added 1/2 cup water here as dal looked very thick to me. Let the dal simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
  10. For the tempering/tadka, heat 2 teaspoons ghee in a small pan. Once the ghee is hot, add 2 chopped garlic cloves. Also add hing and dried red chilies.
  11. Cook for one minute until the garlic starts changing color. Add kashmiri red chili powder, remove pan from heat.
  12. Pour tempering over the dal and mix.
  13. Optional but recommended: For the dhungar method - place a steel bowl on top of a trivet placed inside the dal. Then heat a piece of charcoal over direct heat until its red hot.
  14. Place hot charcoal in that steel bowl on top of the trivet. Pour melted ghee (around 1 tablespoon) on top of charcoal. You will immediately see fumes coming out of charcoal.
  15. Immediately close the pan with a lid. Let it remain like this for 5 to 10 minutes. After 5 to 10 minutes, remove lid and remove the bowl from dal.
  16. The longer you keep the lid closed, the smokier dal will get, so don't do more than 10 minutes.
  17. Garnish dal tadka with more cilantro and serve!

Link to original recipe