Oct 22, 2012

Punjabi Dal Tadka

Dal Tadka

Dal Tadka is my favorite for dinner. It reminds me of my childhood days, when the whole family sued to sit together for dinner and watch news as we ate, and dal was the everyday dinner. I don’t even remember asking mom what’s for dinner! Dal or lentil is available in a lot of varieties in the market, and is a very good source of protein esp for the vegetarians.  I am sure you must also have your favorite variety, everyone has! Mine is the dal tadka and the ‘maa ki daal’, the black dal with rajma and awesome yummy creamy tempering. That recipe will follow next. For now, let’s start simpler yet deliciously – with this dal with yummy tempering or tadka of ginger garlic onions tomato and spices cooked in ghee. You must’ve had this many times in dhabas or restaurants, now you can make the exact dish at home!

Serves 4
Cooking Time 30 mins
Moong dal 1 cup
Masoor dal ¼ cup
Onion 1
Tomato 1
Garlic 4 cloves
Ginger ½ inch piece
Green Chili 1
Kasoori methi /Dry fenugreek leaves 1 tsp
Fresh Coriander chopped 1 tbsp
Garam Masala ½ tsp
Red chili powder ¼ tsp
Dry Coriander powder ½ tsp
Turmeric powder ½ tsp
Hing/asafetida ½ tsp
Jeera/cumin 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Ghee ½ tbsp

How to make Dal Tadka
  • Mix the masoor and moong dal and wash in a bowl, 3-4 times.
  • Boil 4 cups water in a pressure cooker.
  • Add the washed lentils/dal. Add 1 tsp salt. Mix well.
  • Keep the flame on medium. After few mins, a foam or scum will start forming on top. Scrape it off with a ladle and throw. Repeat till no more scum is formed.  
  • Now add ½ tsp salt and turmeric powder. Reduce the flame to low. Cover the cooker a little more than half with a lid leaving some space for steam to escape. This way the grains of dal remain separate and do not get pasty. You can cook in 2 whistles as well to speed up cooking, but that mashes the lentils.
  • Let it simmer on low flame for 15 mins or till cooked. Mash a grain with the back of spoon or between fingers to check if it’s cooked well.

How to make the Tadka or the Tempering
  • Chop and crush the ginger and garlic very fine with a pestle.
  • Chop the green chili and onion.
  • Make the rough chunky puree of the tomato. Do not make a very fine paste.
  • Take the ghee in a frying pan. Once ghee is hot, add hing and jeera.
  • When jeera splits, add the paste made of ginger and garlic and stir.
  • Add the chopped green chili, and onions.
  • Stir and cook, keeping the flame on medium.
  • When the onion gets light pinkish brown, add the tomato puree and reduce flame to low.
  • Cook for 3-4 mins, then add kasuri methi, dry spices and a pinch of salt. Add ½ tsp of chopped coriander.
  • Cook for another few mins till the oil starts to separate from the mixture. This indicates the Masala is cooked.
  • Now mix this Masala in the boiled dal. Check the seasoning and add salt to taste. Taste before adding as salt is added to water when boiling the dal and also in tempering.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with roti or rice.

Note: The tempering for dal tastes best when made in ghee. You can use oil if watching calories.
Chef’s tip: For the easier simpler version of this recipe, when you’re in hurry, you can make the tempering with only ghee, hing, jeera and tomato puree. Tastes great as a simple quick fix, but that won’t be the real Dal Tadka!


  1. I love dal tadka.. it is my fav thing to order wenever we eat out. Yum and tempting!

  2. Very true!! It's so easy to make, yet just a touch of good tempering spices, and the daal becomes so heavenly!! I remember we used to love it as kids, daal chawal and achaar!

  3. Really guys it's yummmiii!!



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