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Dal tadka

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  • 1–2 cups of rinsed lentils (mix different types of lentils for a more diverse texture)
  • 2 carrots or other veggies, dicedoptional
  • 0.5 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1.5 tsp. salt
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 inch ginger, crushed
  • 1 green chili, crushed
  • 1.5 tbsp. ghee (or oil)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp. coriander seeds, crushed
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped (or tomato puree / paste)
  • 0.5 tsp. coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp. garam masala
  • ¼ tsp. red chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried fenugreek leaves, crushed

Tempering (tadka)

  • 2 tsp. ghee
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • ¼ tsp. hing also known as asafoetidaoptional
  • ¼ tsp. red chili powderoptional

Link to original recipe



  1. To a pressure cooker, add the dal along with turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt and 3 cups water.
  2. Pressure cook for 4 whistles 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 optional carrots, 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.

Tip: for a quick meal, add the raw lentils to the pot when adding water (last step). Bring to a boil and let simmer for 30 minutes. The texture should be more liquid than your ideal version as the mixture thickens as it cools down.

Tempering (tadka)

  1. 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.
  2. Cook for one minute until the garlic starts changing color. Add kashmiri red chili powder, remove pan from heat.
  3. Pour tempering over the dal and mix.
  4. 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 it's red hot.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. The longer you keep the lid closed, the smokier dal will get, so don't do more than 10 minutes.
  8. Garnish dal tadka with more cilantro and serve!
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