Dhaba Style Dal Fry/Dal tadka (दाल फ्राई /तड़का) is a North Indian dal (Lentil) recipe. In some places it is also spelled as Dhaal or Daal. It is the most common dish in Indian cuisine, it enjoys an iconic place due to its distinctive taste and aroma. It is so common that every Indian household will know about this. However, there is variations in how it is made and which lentil is used to make it. In my recipe, I will focus on typical Dal Tadka as you will find in north / punjab region of India.
Dal / Lentils are good source of protein and hence there is huge emphasis of dal in Indian cuisine. This dal tadka is made from Arhar Dal/ Tuvar (Toor) Dal/ Split Pigeon Peas. It has a mild, nutty flavour.
If there was a survey ever on most common food in a dhaba (road side eatery), it is almost certain that this Dal Tadka / Fry will be topping the list. Whilst it is staple food in India, its taste varies widely on how its made (most people pick up the cooking pattern from their ancestors). My recipe is an open secret that I picked from my mother.
I make this dal at least once a week as this constantly features in my family’s appetite chart. I have also served this in many events and is extremely popular and always a hit between guests. It is so easy to make and due to its finger licking taste, it serves two purpose, as host, its easy to make, likewise its almost certain that guests will love it. This is my full proof recipe, I have made it so many times now that I barely remember when I made this first.
This dal is something which is equally enjoyed by poor or rich alike. This is best enjoyed with plain boiled rice or Jeera rice. Of course, you can try with vegetable pulao or butter naan.
Making this Dal tadka / fry comprises of boiling (pressure cooking) the lentil and then frying with onion, cumins seeds, etc in clarified butter (ghee). Addition of ghee and few other spices elevates the taste.
It is called Dal Tadka because of “tempering” which also means “Tadka” in Hindi. Continue reading below for detailed step by step recipe of dhaba style Dal Fry / Tadka.
Wash both the Dal 3-4 times and soak them in water for 15 minutes. Drain the water and add the Dal to a pressure cooker. Also add 3 cups of water.
Add chopped tomatoes and chillies, grated ginger, salt, turmeric powder and 1 tablespoon of ghee/clarified butter/oil to the Dal and stir to mix. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook for 1 whistle. Switch off the heat and wait for the release of pressure completely, before opening the cooker.
Now heat 2 tablespoon of ghee/oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. Once they splutter, add chopped garlic and onion and sauté till they are golden brown. Add Coriander powder, Red Chilli Powder and Garam Masala to it and sauté again for 1 minute.
Add the cooked Dal to it and mix well. To prepare the tempering, heat 2 teaspoons of ghee in a small pan. Then add asafoetida and mustard seeds. Once they start to splutter, add 2 Dried Red Chillies and 1/2 teaspoon of Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder to give nice colour to the tempering.
Pour the tempering on top of the Dal. Mix everything together before serving. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.This Dal tastes best when served hot along with some jeera rice. It can also be served in the side of any Indian bread and dry vegetable dish.
This dal tastes best when cooked in desi ghee/Clarified butter. However, you can use vegetable oil/ refined oil as per your preference.
You can add little more water while adding boiled dal to the tadka if you like little thin consistency of dal.