Dal Tadka is a simple but a hearty lentil curry flavored with fried cumin seeds & red chillies. It is the most popular dish served with roti, naan, or pulav, and it can be prepared easily with commonly available ingredients in no time. Dal can be made spicy by adding the tadka (tempering) or rich by preparing the tadka in ghee. Without tadka this dal can be devoured as a hot lentil soup on a cold winter night.
Dal tadka goes well with jeera rice (or any pulao) and Indian bread. I like to serve a mildly spiced dal tadka and a spicy curry as accompaniments for rice & roti. If I make dal alone as a side, I would like to add more spices and make it spicier (please refer “Tweaks” section at the end).
Now the recipe for mildly spiced dal tadka :
Time Taken: 30 min
Yields : 2 cups (400 ml)
- Greengram lentil (paasi paruppu or moong dal) – ½ cup
- Onion – 1 No.
- Tomato – 1 No.
- Ginger – 1 piece (½ inch)
- Red chiili powder – 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
- Garam masala – ¼ tsp
- Ghee – ½ tsp
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Water for pressure cooking – 1 cup
- Hot water to make cooked dal tenuous – ½ cup
For tempering (tadka) :
- Any neutral oil (or ghee) – 1 tsp
- Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
- Red chillies – 2 No.
- Red chilli powder – ¼ tsp
- Water to mix with red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Cooking Method :
- Wash lentil and pour water required for pressure cooking.
- Add chopped onion, tomato & ginger, red chilli powder, turmeric powder & salt.
- Pressure cook lentil mixture (simmer for 10 minutes after bringing to high pressure).
- Transfer the cooked dal to a cooking pan.
- Mash lentil with the back of a ladle.
- Now heat the pan in medium flame and add garam masala.
- Pour hot water into dal and bring it to a boil.
- Pour ghee into the boiling dal, mix well and remove from heat.
- Prepare a red chilli solution by mixing red chilli powder (¼ tsp) in water (1 tsp) and keep aside.
- Heat a small pan with oil for tempering.
- Add cumin seeds, red chillies & fry for 10 sec in low flame.
- Pour red chilli solution and fry for 5 sec.
- Remove tadka from heat and pour into hot lentil.
- Serve hot with rice and/or roti.
- You may use thuvaram paruppu (toor dal/ red gram) or masoor dal (red lentil) instead of green gram lentil.
- If you want to make spicier dal, you may add chopped green chillies and/or garlic while pressure cooking lentil mixture.
- To enhance the flavor you may add chopped coriander leaves or crushed kasuri methi leaves along with garam masala.
- Red chillies are used in tadka only for its flavor, so no need to break them into pieces while tempering.