Dal tadka - toor dal cooked with onion, tomato, mild spices and tempered with cumin, garlic and red chillies in a good amount of ghee. Dal tadka is a comfort meal.
Tadka | Tempering, as mentioned in my Indian Basics post, (click here) is a quintessential pan Indian culinary method. To quote,involves frying the whole spices in hot oil or ghee or butter to release their essential oils and bring out their full flavour and aroma. The hot fat locks and retains the flavour of the spices and when this spice-infused fat, is added to the dish it intensifies the flavour of the dish multifold. No dish is complete without giving a tadka. There are two popular dishes in the Indian cuisine that signifies the importance of tadka where you can clearly see how much it elevates the stature of the dish. One, the evergreen of the Indian cuisine – the “Dal Tadka” (today’s post) and second, the South Indian representative – Rasam. Personally, many a times, my rasam has been saved from horrible disasters only because of the tadka. Such is the prominence of this simple technique. I am not exaggerating!
Did you know that there is a series of Indian basics post in the blog. If you are not familiar with Indian cooking, I suggest you to take a look at it. It s a brand new series intended to help everyone to get familiarized with the Indian basics.
Dal tadka is usually made with toor dal. But you can also mix masoor ( the orange colour lentils) or the mung dal (mung beans). The mixture of lentils gives it a wonderful taste. The next main flavouring agent is cumin seeds tempered in ghee. This final touch elevates the plain bland taste of the dal. Though ghee gives this dish that unique flavour, you can also use coconut oil if you are vegan.
Dal tadka is very mild and less spicy. Dal chawal, dal with rice is a part of everyday meal.
- ¼ cup masoor dal | pink lentils
- ¾ cup toor dal | split yellow peas
- 1 tablespoon ghee | Indian clarified butter
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 to 3 green chillies, slit lengthwise (reduce if you prefer less spicy)
- ½ cup finely chopped onions
- ½ cup finely chopped tomato
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- Salt to taste
- Coriander leaves for garnish
- A pinch of kasuri methi leaves (dry fenugreek leaves)
- 2 to 3 tablespoon ghee | clarified butter
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 dry red chillies
- A pinch of asafetida optional
In a pressure cooker, heat a tablespoon of ghee. As soon as it becomes hot, add the cumin seeds and let it splutter. Add the minced garlic, ginger, green chillies and onion. Stir until the onions become translucent.
Then add the tomatoes, little salt and cook until the tomatoes become soft. Add the chilli powder and garam masala. Mix well.
Add the dal and 2 cups water. Close the lid and pressure cook for 12 -15 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Check for salt and spice; adjust if needed.
Heat ghee in a Kadai | Pan over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the cumin seeds and let it splutter. Then add the red chillies, chopped garlic and asafetida. Pour this over the cooked dal. Add the coriander leaves and kasuri methi leaves.
The dal will thicken as it cools. Add another ½ cup of warm water preferably before serving.
Serve with roti/naan or rice.
- Substitute coconut oil with ghee if you want the vegan version of this dish.