Dal Tadka

Dal Tadka is a lentil dish tempered with ghee, herbs and spices, and is one of the most popular lentil dishes of India. Simple and amazingly flavorful, this goes well with any type of Indian bread or white rice.

Dal tadka is one of the simplest dal /lentil recipes, and almost every North Indian home prepares it in some way. Mostly, homemade dal tadka recipes are very simple, with not many spices. Homemade dal tadka also does not use much ghee and red chilies.

I was always puzzled after eating in restaurants regarding why our dal tadka didn’t taste the same as theirs. My husband and I tried so many times, but were not able to achieve that taste. However, our perception of dal tadka changed during one of our vacations in India. Once, we were so bored of eating the heavy food, we ordered simple dal tadka along with several other dishes. When we tasted that dal, we were spellbound. It was just amazing and beyond our imaginations. We licked our fingers and cleaned the plate.

We were so curious to know the secret of this heavenly tasting dal, we asked our chef about the secret. Then, we came to know that restaurants use a double tadka method for this dal and that the second tadka makes all the difference. Many places do a dhungar method too, but I know it’s not very practical at home.

Why Do I Love Dal Tadka?

It’s really simple and easy.

It also involves very little ingredients from the pantry and fridge.

It’s gluten-free, and not using ghee serves as an alternative for vegan food.

It is just absolutely delicious and filling.

What Ingredients are Used in Making Dal Tadka?

We use Toor dal/ split pigeon pea lentils, turmeric powder, and salt. Onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, green chilies, cumin seeds, and ghee/oil are used to make the first tadka/tempering. We will use a second tempering of ghee/oil, red chilli powder, garlic cloves, and a garnish of lemon juice and fresh cilantro leaves.

What Can You Serve with Dal Tadka?

Any type of Indian bread, and rice (mostly white rice) go well with this dal. You may also want to check out the following recipes.

Carrot & Peas Pulao

Baked Naan Bread

Dal Palak/Lentil Soup with spinach

Dal Makhani

Dal Tadka

Lentils are tempered with ghee and a few spices. It's a restaurant version of homemade toor dal, and is fragrant, vibrant, and finger-licking good. Goes well with rice and Indian breads.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian Cuisine.
Servings 4


For Making Dal

  • 1 Cup Toor Dal/Split Pigeon Pea Lentil
  • 3 Cup Water
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 Tsp Salt

Ingredients required for 1st tempering

  • 2 Tbsp Ghee/Oil of your choice.
  • 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 4-5 Cloves Garlic ,Minced
  • 1 Tbsp Grated Ginger
  • 1 Medium Chopped Onion
  • 1 Medium Chopped Tomato
  • 1/2 Tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp Chopped Green Chilies (Optional)
  • 1 Tsp Kasoori Methi(Optional)

Ingredients required foe second tempering

  • 1 Tbsp Ghee/Oil of your choice
  • 2 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 1 Dry red chilli
  • 1/2 Tsp Red chilli Powder
  • Pinch of Asafoetida(Optional)

For Garnish

  • Lemon/Lime Wedges
  • Fresh Chopped Cilantro


Boiling of Dal in Instant Pot

  • Wash lentil properly and keep it aside.
  • Cook it on high pressure for 4 minute with 3 cups of water ,1 tsp of turmeric powder and 1 tsp of salt .Let the steam release naturally after its done.

Boiling of Dal in a pan on the stove top

  • A lot of my readers prefer making dal this way .I am sharing this method specially for them.
  • After washing dal keep it aside.
  • Cook it with 3 cups of water ,1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of turmeric.
  • Keep the flame on high first and when it starts boiling slow it down .Cover it with a lid and let it cook for around 20 -25 minutes.
  • Stir it in between and if you think it is sticking to the bottom ,stir it again it .If you think there is very less water in the pan and lentil feels dry ,add more. Cook it till its soft and mushy .
  • Take a hand held whisker and whisk it to make a smooth lentil soup .Do not worry about its thickness or thinness.

How to do the first tempering

  • Chop onion ,tomato ,green chillies ,ginger and garlic. Chop fresh cilantro as well.
  • Take a pan .Add ghee/oil to it .Heat It.
  • Add cumin seeds ,and chopped green chilies to it .Let them cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add onion ,and garlic to it .Cook it for 1 -2 minute or till it looks translucent. Add ginger ,garam masala ,red chilli powder ,kasoori methi to it .Mix it well and cook it for 1 minutes. on low flame .
  • Add chopped tomato to it .Mix it well with the onion spice mix.
  • Add whisked dal to it .Stir it and let it cook for 2 minutes on low/medium flame .
  • If its thick for your taste add some warm water to it .If its thin let it cook for 2-3 minutes till it reaches consistency of your liking.

Second tempering

  • In a small pan add ghee/oil to it .
  • Add minced garlic and asafoetida to it .When it looks light brown add red chilli powder and immediately pour the tempering over the dal. Taste the dal if it needs some salt add it now .
  • Sprinkle some lime juice and garnish with cilantro.
  • You dal tadka is ready .
  • Serve it with white rice or some bread.
  • Enjoy.

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