Dal tadka is one of the most popular North Indian curry served in Indian restaurants and at home. Easy to prepare, this delightful creamy curry is awesome in taste. Dal is most staple food in India and each region in India has it’s own version of dal curry

if you do not have charcoal, you can skip that step and still prepare this dal tadka. This curry can also be made with Arhar Dal and Masoor Dal too.Popularly this is made using Toor Dal. This curry can also be prepared using Instant pot

Tadka means tempering. During tempering, when we fry the spices, it releases it’s flavor in oil/ghee and when this is added to the curry, it makes it absolutely delicious and tasty. This is also one of the popular comfort foods

Dal Tadka is generally served hot soon after it is prepared. If you let it stand on the counter, curry will solidify, you can of course add warm water to adjust the consistency, but it’s best to serve them immediately

Preparation time: 15 mins Cooking time: 30 mins Total time: 45 mins

Servings: 5


  • 1 cup Toor Dal/Split Pigeon pea lentils
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/8 teaspoon Hing/Asafoetida
  • 1 teaspoon Haldi/Turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kasuri Methi (Dried Fenugreek leaves)
  • 1-2 tbsp cream
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves (Cilantro)

For Tempering

  • 1.5 tbsp – 2 tbsp oil/ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Hing/Asafoetida
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2-3 dry red chilies

For Smoky dal/Dhungar method

  • 1 small piece of charcoal
  • 1/4 teaspoon oil/ghee (clarified butter)

Steps to Prepare

  • Clean toor dal 3-4 times in water
  • Add cleaned dal with 2.5 cups water to pressure cooker
  • Add onion, tomato , green chilies to cooker
  • Add turmeric, ginger and hing to dal and mix
  • Pressure cook dal until very tender and creamy – approx 7 to 8 whistles
  • Mash the dal until creamy, do not mash it completely
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  • Add water to dal, consistency should not be thick nor thin
  • Simmer and cook dal for 4 minutes
  • Add salt and garam masala. Mix well
  • Add cream, coriander leaves, Kasuri Methi. Mix well and switch off the heat. Keep it aside
  • This below step is optional but this is what gives smoky flavor to dal in restaurants
  • Heat charcoal until red hot,using tongs, transfer it to small steel bowl
  • Now pour oil/ghee on top, it will start releasing the fumes. Place this bowl immediately in pressure cooker and close the cooker for 2 minutes. after 2 mins, remove the bowl and keep the lid closed until tempering is completed
  • Now lets start with Tadka (tempering) preparation
  • Heat Ghee/oil/butter in small pan. I generally use ghee as it improves flavor of the dal.
  • Add cumin seeds and let it crackle
  • Add red chilies, hing and garlic
  • Saute until garlic turns golden brown and is aromatic. Add red chili powder and saute for a minute
  • Pour this tempering over prepared dal and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice/roti/pulao
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Dal Tadka
Posted by:Rekha Unni

Humble quirky soul embarking on beautiful journey of love called Life. Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies and I love experimenting with different types of foods. it's the love of cooking for my family which has made this hobby as one of my passions

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