Best Occasion to Prepare this Recipe
Funny how one of the dishes I make atleast once a week is being added fairly late. Once upon a time this was probably the only Punjabi dish that I didn’t love, why I even remember throwing tantrums to avoid eating it. It’s 15years later today, and the lazy – tired me went straight to the “Dals” section in my kitchen and unsealed a huge Ghee container to prepare Jeera rice and paired it with Dal (obviously) with a generous amount of tadka cooked in Ghee. It tasted OH SO GOOD! #FeelinglikealaughingBuddha
Living a Bachelor’s life? You cannot ruin this recipe – it’s that difficult. So, pick up your Apron and start cooking!
Thanks to Indian taste-buds, every Indian state has its own traditionally famous dal recipes which are made using different varieties of lentils. Some of the more common and Popular Dal based recipes being Dal Makhani, Chane ki Dal, Cholar Dal, DAL Bukhara, Moong Dal Tadka, Panchmel Dal, etc. In this list, tadke ki dal or Dal Tadka is a specialty of North Indian cuisine available in all the Dhabas and Indian Restaurants.
Dal Tadka Quick Recipe Guide
- Use of Dal – This dal recipe is a creamy concoction of (typically) upto three different lentils boiled until they are rich and creamy, and then tempered twice with brilliant spices and butter/ghee. Dal Tadka can be made using only toor dal (alone) or using a combination of other lentils. For this recipe I combined three of them – toor/tuvar dal (split pigeon pea), chana dal (split garbanzo beans) and moong (split moong beans). People use different combinations, some also use masoor dal (split pink lentils). So you can mix and match as per your taste
- Cooking of Dals – The lentils are boiled along with some tomatoes, salt & turmeric Later they are tempered twice with ghee/oil.
- Tempering/Tadka – For the first tempering, onion, tomatoes, garlic + ginger +green Chilies crushed are sauteed along with other spices. The boiled dal is cooked with the spices to absorb the flavor. When Dal is cooked, the second tempering is added to it. The second tempering adds aroma, richness and taste. Dal that is now creamy should be served immediately after the second tadka
- Dilute your Dal to runny consistency (if it’s very thick) before serving it with Rice
There are innumerable ways of preparing Dal Tadka – some like it thick and creamy while the others like it in soup like consistency. Let’s dig in to see the different recipes of Dal Tadka!
PS: Dal Tadka goes great with any type of Pulao/Pulav. The magical combo is Butter rice & Dal, Jeera Rice and Dal, even Peas Pulao with Dal tastes great!
My Top Recipe Recommendations
- Punjabi Dal Tadka
- Easy Dal Tadka Recipe – Recommended
- Restaurant Style Dal Tadka
- Lasooni Dal Tadka/Garlic Dal Tadka
- Dhaba Style Dal Tadka
- Mumbai Restaurant Style Dal Tadka
- Cardamon Scented Moong Dal Tadka
- Bengali Tadka Dal
- Masoor Dal Tadka
My Improv & Notes
- I consider it a cardinal sin if you prepare Dal tadka without using generous amount of ghee. However, if you are on strict (low Fat) diet you can use Oil instead of ghee
- The consistency of Dal tadka should not be too thin or too thick. It should have runny consistency that can be enjoyed with rice varieties
- Many of us tend to cook beforehand if we are hosting parties/get together for a large party of guests. Dal tadka is a great choice for an add on dish in this regard. You can make Dal without tempering beforehand. And just before serving prepare tadka and pour it on dal
- It’s recommended to soak the lentils 1-2 hours before preparing the recipe. About 45 minutes of soak time will also do
- To add a smoky flavor of burnt charcoal in dal tadka you can use “dhungar technique” similar to one I suggested in a couple other Dhaba Style prep of North Indian gravies. Place a small katori in dal tadka and put a burnt charcoal in it. As soon as smoke comes out of charcoal close the lid and let the dal get infused with smoky flavor
- Using lemon juice is optional, if you love tang in your dishes – go for it, however use fresh lemon juice only or squeeze in a small amount of tamarind extract and leave it to boil
- Please adjust the spice level to taste. Based on the spice levels you can tolerate or enjoy, dial up/down the number of Green Chilies, Red Chilies or Red Chili powder your recipe suggests
- For Tadka, wait till your cumin seeds turn dark brown – the burnt cumin taste completely can improve the taste of your recipe
- Once the Cumin starts to Crackle and turns dark brown, add Garlic and Dry Red Chilies. Cook till Garlic starts turning Brown, then add it to Dal
- With Dal, please be sure to follow my basic principle – KISS (Keep it Short & Simple). Don’t go about adding Masala powders unnecessarily. The simpler it is, more divine it tastes
- Don’t forget to add crushed Kasuri Methi as a topping!