Dal Tadka (Restaurant Style Tempered Lentils)

Daal Tadka - ICSThe very popular and amazingly tasty Dal Tadka or Dal Fry is here. Very simple to make yet so delectable. Just like you would get in a restaurant. ‘Dal’ is the hindi word for lentils and ‘Tadka’ for tempering (heating oil or ghee and adding spices to it and frying). In this recipe, we will cook lentils and temper in the end with oil or ghee fried spices. This is a favourite at home and also can’t be missed when eating vegetarian food in Indian restaurants. I make dal tadka with Arhar/Toor Dal (split pigeon pea lentils). You can also mix half Arhar/Toor (split pigeon pea lentils) and half Masoor (Split pink lentils) Dals in this recipe.

Dal Tadka can be served with Plain Paratha or Chapati (Indian Breads) or Steamed Rice or Jeera (Cumin Seeds) Rice.

Recreate the restaurant style magic with these easy steps;

Preparation Time 15-20 minutes
Cooking Time 15-20 minutes
Servings 3-4
Main Ingredients Arhar/Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Pea Lentils)
Course Main-course
Level Of Cooking Medium


  • Arhar/Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Pea Lentils)  1 cup
  • Onion Chopped  1 medium
  • Ginger Grated  1 inch piece
  • Garlic Grated  5-6 cloves
  • Tomatoes Chopped  1 medium
  • Green Chilli Chopped  1
  • Chopped Coriander  2 tablespoons
  • Cumin Seeds  1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric  1/2 teaspoon
  • Red Chilli Powder  1 teaspoon
  • Dried Red Chilli  1
  • Hing (Asafoetida)  a pinch
  • Ghee (Refined Butter) 4 tablespoons
  • Water  3 cups
  • Salt  to taste


Step 1
Clean and wash the arhar/toor dal (split pigeon pea lentils) and pressure cook it with salt, half the red chilli powder, and turmeric powder for six to seven whistles. Close the flame and wait till the pressure is released then open the lid and see if the dal (lentils) is soft. If not cook on low heat till the dal (lentils) becomes totally soft. Then add garam masala powder mix.

16557702049_a120c90513_oStep 2
Heat ghee (refined butter) in a pan. Add cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds crackle, add hing (asafoetida), dried red chilli, chopped ginger and garlic and saute for half a minute. Add chopped onion and saute on medium-low flame for 2-3 minutes or till golden brown. Then add chopped tomato, chopped green chilli, a pinch of salt and the remaining red chilli powder. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the mix to the dal (lentils) and mix well. Add a little hot water if the dal is too thick and mix.

A small tip to make your Dal Tadka all the more special and restaurant-like – In Step 2, exclude adding cumin seeds, dried-red chilli and red chilli powder in the heated pan with oil. Instead, temper (tadka/chaunk) these later separately in a small pan with a tablespoon of ghee (refined butter) or cooking oil and add it to the dal (lentils) just before you are serving the hot Dal Tadka. Let it stay unmixed and mix only when on the dinner table. You will get the look and presentation exactly how it is in the main picture.

Step 3
Add the chopped coriander and mix.

Step 4
Serve hot with Steamed Rice, Chapati or Plain Paratha (Indian breads) and relish your palate.Daal Tadka - Indian Curry Shack

It’s a very simple recipe if you have tried it once. Then, trust me it’s going to be in your weekly main-course menu.


16 responses to “Dal Tadka (Restaurant Style Tempered Lentils)”

  1. […] Step 3 Once the potatoes and cauliflower are 75% cooked add tomato and green chillies, mix and continue cooking. Once the potatoes and cauliflower are 100% cooked add garam masala and mix. (While mixing, bring your spatula from the edges so that the cauliflower florets don’t split or get mashed.) Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis or parathas and curd/natural yogurt or as a side dish to dal–rice. […]


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