Dal Tadka

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.

indian dal recipe
Dal Tadka

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.

North indian dal recipe
Dal Tadka with Palak Lachcha Paratha

I have prepared Dal Tadka using three types of Indian lentilstur 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

  Prepare time:
 Serves: 4

 Main Ingredients:

  •  tur dal


  •   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)

Method for making Dal Tadka

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.
  • Krithi Karthi

    This is awesome Sailu.. Hubby had been asking me to make dal tadka ever since we had it in one of our Marati friend’s house… This looks like a perfect recipe! Will try and give you an update…

  • malini

    very simple dish. but first i will try this.

  • Priya

    Super comforting dal tadka.

  • Manidipas Kitchen

    You are a true artist. Such a simple recipe, but you make it wow!!.

  • Anu@foodpunch

    Wow, how nicely you’ve made it look so special. Its a staple food for us north Indian’s, just that we would replace the curry leaves with bay leaf usually.

  • Puja

    Already tried it. Excellent..

  • Chandra

    Nice presentation and pictures are very appetizing! I normally follow the same recipe as yours and add Amchur powder for that tangy flavor!

  • Yamini

    I made Dal Tadka for dinner last night with phulkas and beetroot curry. My entire family loved it which is a rarity ๐Ÿ™‚

  • http://twitter.com/betit19 Richa

    Daal Tadka is definitely a fave in my house too. nicely done!

  • Dhivya

    Just heavenly!!! I made this the same day u posted it and I added lil onions too ๐Ÿ™‚ got a lot of appreciation for the taste. Thanks again ๐Ÿ™‚

  • aisha

    whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat is theees!

    • richa

      you are the best!

  • divya

    you guys are so stupid i swear you like thid=s daaal taadkaaa you guys are bitches you stupid buffaloes bitches

  • nayaab


  • chandana


  • kulveer


  • devapriya


  • Reena Gupta

    very simple and tasty recipe i like to cook this in my kitchen….

    • mukesssh

      kabhi khilaiyega mujhe

  • meme

    Thanks for the recipe. It turned out really nice except I think I burnt the tadka.

  • http://twitter.com/ApaniRasoi Apani Rasoi

    Daal Tadaka is my all time most favourite.



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  • Svetlana Podvalniuk

    How do I change the cooking time if I have no pressure cooker??? Thank you!!!

    • Sandeeprawat759

      use that utensil which have lid and during cooking add oil and add little salt and soak the dal over night before u cook dal tadka

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  • Shalini

    Thank u so much we loved it

  • swag2464


  • neha chamaria

    Sailu, I’m just trying my hand at cooking, and this was the first dal I tried out. It turned out so well, that I’ve turned into a Dal fan, which I never was! Thank you. The Dal tasted fantastic, and I’m certainly going to learn recipes from your website. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • vrinda

    no salt??

  • yugandar reddy

    Can u tell me cup size…