Dal Tadka, a North Indian dal recipe, is a Dhaba style favorite food of mine. I have a lot of warm childhood memories associated with Dhaba style food with all its smoky flavors. On many a road trip, our standard mid day vegetarian meal consisted of hot pulka, dal tadka, aloo gobi sabzi, paneer curry, dahi, lassi and salad. We always try to find an authentic Punjabi dhaba (typically run by a Punjabi) present along the highway route where the food is usually cooked over wood fire.
I have numerous dal recipes on my blog and wonder why it took me so long to post the recipe of Dal Tadka which happens to be a favorite of mine. Dal Tadka aka Tadka Dal or Dal Tarka is a healthy, hearty, beautifully textured, smoky flavored Indian dal dish that is revered by many a Dhaba food connoisseur. The aroma that emanates the home while preparing the tadka for the dal dish is something one needs to experience as I cannot explain in words the sizzle and mingle of Indian spices in hot oil or desi ghee. Truly intoxicating.
I have prepared Dal Tadka using three types of Indian lentils – tur dal (red gram), chana dal (Bengal gram) and moong dal (yellow dal). You can use just tur dal or any two lentils like masoor dal or yellow moong dal, if you do not have all the three types of lentils on hand. I have used desi ghee (clarified butter) for tempering which gives a rustic flavor to the dal. You can use oil for a vegan version which will taste just as good. Authentic Dal Tadka recipe does not call for the use of curry leaves but I like the flavor of curry leaves and hence I threw in a few leaves in the tempering.
Dal Tadka goes best with hot pulkas, chapati, naan and jeera pulao. I served Dal Tadka with Palak Lachcha Paratha which made for a fantastic combination.
Dal Tadka Recipe
- Tur dal - 1/4 cup (kandi pappu/red gram da)
- Moong dal - 1/4 cup (pesara pappu/yellow lentils)
- Channa dal - 2 tbsps (bengal gram/senaga pappu) (soak for 15 mts in water)
- Green chilies - 2, slit length wise
- Ginger, finely minced
- Haldi - 1/4 tsp (pasupu/turmeric pwd)
- Coriander seeds - 1/2 tsp (crushed) (optional)
- Tomato - 1, finely chopped
- Ghee - 1 1/2 tsps (or oil for a vegan version)
- For tempering/poppu/tadka:
- Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
- Hing - large pinch (asafoetida/inguva)
- Dry red chilies - 1 or 2, tear and de-seed
- Green chili - 1, slit
- Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
- Curry leaves (optional)
- Ghee - 1 1/2 tsps (or cooking oil)
- In a pressure cooker, add 2 cups of water and add the three lentils/dals, green chilies, ginger, hing and turmeric pwd and pressure cook upto 3 whistles. If cooking over stove top, cook till the dals are almost cooked. Mash the dals lightly.
- Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed vessel, add crushed coriander seeds and stir fry for few secs. Add the chopped tomato and saute for 4 mts.
- Add the pressure cooked dal along with salt and mix. Add a large cup of water and cook on slow to medium flame for 10 mts without lid or till you get the consistency of your choice.
- Remove onto a serving bowl and keep aside while you prepare the tempering.
- Heat ghee in a small pan, add the cumin seeds and as they splutter, add hing, red chilies, green chili, red chili powder and curry leaves and saute for a few secs. Turn off heat and pour this over the dal.
- Serve with rotis or jeera pulao or white rice.
- A variation - saute a chopped onion before sauteing the tomatoes.
- Amchur powder and garam masala powder can be added to the tempering. Add a pinch of each.
- Dal Tadka can be prepared using just Tur dal OR Yellow moong dal.
- There are numerous version of Dal Tadka. The one above is a regular in our home.
- Curry leaves are an optional ingredient.
Dal Tadka,a North Indian dal recipe,is a Dhaba style favorite food of mine.Hot pulka and dal tadka is our standard vegetarian meal on many of our road trips.