Indian Lentil Curry (Dal Tadka) Recipe

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Dal Tadka, a quintessential Indian dish, is a hearty lentil curry bursting with flavors and aromas. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a kitchen novice, this recipe is bound to tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.



To create this tantalizing Dal Tadka, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup yellow lentils (Toor dal)
  • 1/2 cup split chickpeas (Chana dal)
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 green chilies, slit lengthwise
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or oil


Preparing the Lentils: Rinse the lentils thoroughly under running water. In a pressure cooker, combine the lentils with four cups of water, chopped tomatoes, half of the chopped onions, green chilies, garlic, ginger, turmeric powder, and salt. Cook for about 15 minutes until the lentils are soft and mushy.


Tempering the Dal: In a separate pan, heat ghee or oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Allow them to crackle. Then, add the remaining chopped onions and sauté until golden brown.

Adding the Flavors: Once the onions are caramelized, add red chili powder and garam masala. Stir well to combine the spices with the onions.


Combining the Tempering with Lentils: Pour the prepared tempering over the cooked lentils. Mix well to incorporate the flavors.

Finishing Touches: Let the Dal Tadka simmer for a few more minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves.


 Serving Suggestions

Serve hot with steamed rice or Indian bread such as naan or roti. The creamy texture of the lentils combined with the aromatic spices makes for a delightful meal that pairs perfectly with any accompaniment.

Tips for Perfection

Soaking the lentils for a few hours before cooking can help reduce the cooking time.


Adjust the spice levels according to your preference. Add more chili powder for extra heat or reduce it for a milder flavor.

Experiment with different lentil combinations for a unique twist on this classic dish.


 Health Benefits

Dal Tadka not only satisfies your taste buds but also offers numerous health benefits. Lentils are rich in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients, making this dish a nutritious choice for vegetarians and meat-lovers alike.


In conclusion, Dal Tadka is a comforting and flavorsome dish that embodies the essence of Indian cuisine. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, you can recreate this classic recipe in your own kitchen. Whether enjoyed as a hearty meal or as part of a festive spread, Dal Tadka never fails to impress.


FAQs About Dal Tadka

Q1: Can I use other lentils instead of toor dal and chana dal? A1: Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with different lentil varieties to suit your taste preferences.

Q2: Can I make Dal Tadka without a pressure cooker? A2: Yes, you can cook the lentils in a regular pot, but it will take longer. Ensure the lentils are cooked until soft and mushy before proceeding with the recipe.


Q3: Is Dal Tadka spicy? A3: The level of spiciness can be adjusted according to your preference by varying the amount of chili powder and green chilies used.

Q4: Can I make Dal Tadka in advance? A4: Yes, Dal Tadka can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat before serving.


Q5: Is Dal Tadka suitable for vegans? A5: Yes, you can use oil instead of ghee to make this dish vegan-friendly.


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