Learn how to make Dal Tadka (Stove Top Pressure Cooker and Instant Pot Recipe) | Restaurant Style Dal Tadka Recipe
Dal Tadka is one of the most popular everyday dal made in Indian homes and served in restaurants. This simple delicious dal is a comfort food to many. It is best enjoyed with steamed rice along with some chutney or pickle of choice, an ultimate comfort food.
- About the recipe
- What is the difference between Dal Tadka and Dal Fry
- Ingredients to make Dal Tadka
- Cooking lentils
- Dal Tadka in Instant Pot
- Storing the leftovers
- Recipe card
- Dal Tadka
About the recipe
Dal Tadka a humble, flavorful dish, one of the most popular Dal recipes made with Arhar Dal/Split Pigeon Pea.
Dal is Lentils and Tadka is 'tempering'. In local hindi in Northern India it is also known as Chaunk.
For those of you who don't know about Dal Tadka, it is cooked lentils(dal) tempered with Indian spices(tadka) in clarified butter(ghee).The appetizing aroma of tempering made with cumin, curry leaves, garlic, onion and red chilli powder along with a pinch of asafoetida makes the dal finger-licking delicious!!
There are many variations in the recipe of Dal Tadka as it is the most popular and loved Dal all across India. It is also budget friendly and lentils can be stored in pantry for more than 2-3 months.
What is the difference between Dal Tadka and Dal Fry
There is as such not much difference in two versions. In our homes we just call the Dal preparation as Dal and add tadka on top.
Several restaurants came up with these two different dals variations in there menu. One is Dal Tadka and the other Dal Fry. Many people get confused with the names.
Dal Tadka is lentils cooked with onions tomato masala and tempering of onion and garlic in ghee with cumin seeds and red chilli powder is added.
Whereas, dal fry is the dal cooked only in onion tomato masala without any tempering. Dal Fry may have toor dal in combination with other lentils like moong/red lentils(dhuli masoor).
Ingredients to make Dal Tadka
Main ingredient of this recipe is Arhar Dal/Split Pigeon Pea. I am sharing here my way of making Dal Tadka with Arhar or Toor Dal.
Every household has a way of making it. Some make it with only Toor Dal and some mix Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram) or Yellow Moong Dal(Split Yellow Moong Beans). You can mix any of these along with Toor dal.
Different names of Arhar Dal
This dal is known with different names not only in different parts of India but also around the world.
Toor Dal is the popular name in Southern and Western India. Harada Dali in Odisha
Other names are Congo Bean in Europe region, Gungo Peas in Jamaica region. Red Gram is another english term for Pigeon Pea.
Vegetables and Herbs-Onion, Tomato, Garlic, Ginger and Fresh coriander for garnish.
Spices- I do not use much of the spices in the recipe. Only Red Chilli powder and very little garam masala. Tempering is made in Ghee as it imparts the real taste of this dal. But Vegans can use any plant based oil like Rice Barn, Olive oil etc.
Desi Ghee for cooking the masala and tempering.
Vegans can use any plant oil but trust me the real taste of the dal comes with the use of Desi Ghee.
Why to soak dal before cooking
Dal should be soaked for at least 15 -20 mins if you are cooking in pressure cooker. This reduces the cooking time. Lentils also cause gas and bloating in the body. Soaking also helps eliminating the gassy elements from lentils. It also helps in the easy absorption of the nutrients and makes it easily digestible.
Soak it for about 2 hrs if you plan to cook it on stove-top in open pan.
You can use your traditional Indian Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot to cook dal, which shortens the cooking time. Add water in the ratio 1:2 for thick consistency or 1:3 if you want a bit thin consistency.
Dal can also be cooked in microwave and open pot(stove top).
Go to recipe card for details
Dal Tadka in Instant Pot
Before I bought my Instant Pot, I made Dal tadka in our Indian Pressure cooker. But , now IP has made a cooking a lot easier, so now I very rarely cook in the traditionally way.
Cooking Dal in IP is a one pot affair now. I make the onion tomato masala and then add soaked dal. Pressure cook it and it is ready to serve. Add tadka before serving.
Check Recipe card for details.
Also, refer to my other post Chana Dal in Instant Pot for the detailed recipe of Dal Tadka in Instant Pot. The recipe almost the same but has Chana Dal (Bengal Gram) instead of Toor Dal (Pigeon Pea).
Storing the leftovers
Leftover Dal can be refrigerated for about 2-3 days. Making for weekly meal menu then cook dal and add tempering before serving.
You can also freeze dal in small portions, thaw and reheat, add little water as the dal gets thick and the texture will also be a bit different.
- Pressure cooker Indian Pressure Cooker(stove top)
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Chopper to chop onions and tomato
- 1 Cup Toor Dal/Arhar Dal Yellow Pigeon Pea
- 1 Medium Onion Finely Chopped
- 2 Medium Tomatoes Finely Chopped
- 1 Finely chopped or minced Garlic
- 1/2 tsp Finely chopped ginger
- 1-2 Green Chillies Finely chopped
- ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- ¼ tsp Asafoetida/Hing
- ½ tsp Garam Masala
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp Desi Ghee or or any Vegetable Oil
- 1-2 tbsp Desi Ghee or any Vegetable Oil
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1-2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 4-5 Curry Leaves optional
- 1 tsp Finely chopped or minced Garlic
- ½ Chopped Onion
- 1 Dry Whole Red Chlli optional
- Chopped Coriander /Cilantro for garnish
Prepare and gather the ingredients
- Wash dal in fresh water 2-3 times and then soak for 15-20 mins. in 1-2 cups of water.1 Cup Toor Dal/Arhar Dal
- Prepared all the other ingredients . Finely chop onion, tomato, garlic, ginger and green chilli.
Cook Dal in Indian Pressure Cooker Stove Top
- When ready to cook, drain the water, transfer dal to pressure cooker and then add 2-3 cups water.
- Switch on the gas, let the dal boil for 2-3 mins. There will be froth collected at the top, discard it.1 Cup Toor Dal/Arhar Dal
- Then add salt, turmeric. Place the lid and seal it.½ tsp Turmeric Powder, Salt to taste
- Let the pressure come and cook dal on HIGH heat for 1-2 whistles.
- After that lower the gas and let the dal cook for 10 mins. Then switch of the gas and let the pressure release naturally.
- Remove the lid, and check the consistency of dal. Add water about 1/4 cup or as required if it is thick.
- Mix and lightly mash the dal using back of the ladle.
Prepare Onion Tomato Masala
- In another pan, heat ghee/oil. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida, once the seeds crackle, add finely chopped green chillies, garlic and ginger.1 Finely chopped or minced Garlic, 1/2 tsp Finely chopped ginger, ½ tsp Cumin Seeds, ¼ tsp Asafoetida/Hing, 1 tbsp Desi Ghee or, 1-2 Green Chillies
- Saute for 1 min. or till the raw smell of garlic goes away.
- Then add finely chopped onions. Saute till it becomes light brown.1 Medium Onion
- Add finely chopped tomatoes now. Cook till soft and mushy. You can cover the pan while tomatoes are cooking.2 Medium Tomatoes
- When tomatoes start leaving oil, add garam masala and cook for few seconds.½ tsp Garam Masala
- Dal is ready.
- When ready to serve, prepare tadka.
- Heat ghee in tadka pan, add cumin seeds and whole red chilli.1 tsp Cumin Seeds, 1 Dry Whole Red Chlli, 1-2 tbsp Desi Ghee
- When seeds crackle, add finely chopped garlic saute till it starts getting light brown.1 tsp Finely chopped or minced Garlic
- Add chopped onions (if using) and curry leaves, saute till onions turn light brown.½ Chopped Onion, 4-5 Curry Leaves
- Add red chilli powder and then transfer the tadka to dal.1-2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- Cover dal for few mins. after adding tadka. Garnish with fresh coriander.Chopped Coriander /Cilantro for garnish
- Serve hot with chapatis or rice.
Cook dal in Open Pan Stove Top
- Soak dal for about 2 hrs. In open pan/pot boil water, add soaked lentils with asafoetida(optional), salt, and turmeric powder and cook till dal is soft. It takes about 30-45 mins depending on the weather and the place. Add water in the ratio 1:3 or 1:4 (dal to water) if dal is takes longer to cook. Add tadka before serving.
Cook Dal in Microwave
- Microwaves also can be used for cooking dal. Soak dal for 2 hrs, then microwave pre-soaked dal for 40 mins HIGH. Add salt, turmeric and water in the ratio 1:3 (dal to water). Add tadka before serving.
Cook Dal in Instant Pot
- Add dal and then set the SAUTE Mode on for 10 mins.
- When the screen shows HOT, add ghee/oil, hen add cumin seeds.
- When the seeds crackle, add curry leaves(optional), chopped ginger garlic, green chillies. Saute for a min.
- Add chopped onions and saute till light brown.
- Then, add chopped tomatoes and cook till soft and mushy.
- Add turmeric powder, garam masala and cook for another 1 min, Keep on stirring and scraping the base so that there is no masala sticking .
- Now drain the water from soaked dal, add it to the onion tomato masala.
- Add about 2-3 cups water, cancel the SAUTE Mode.
- Set the PRESSURE COOK Mode on for 10 mins. Cover and seal the lid.
- When the cooking time is over, wait for another 10 mins and then do the 'Quick Release Pressure'.
- Check the consistency of Dal. If it is too thick then add about 1/4 cup or as required and then cook dal on SAUTE mode for 5 mins. Take care the dal doesn't burn at the bottom.
- Add tadka before serving.
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