Dal Tadka: Seasoned Indian Style Lentil Soup.

previous post: Favorite Recipes:Non Indian food | next post: Hearth and Soul Blog Hop 137: 2/5/2013

One of the few dishes my hubby cooks is ‘dal’ or lentil soup or stew. You can call it by any name; but it is a simple but tasty dish.   I don’t know whether my grandma knew about carbohydrates and protein, but she always cooked a balanced diet of carbohydrates and protein, usually the protein part of our food is occupied by lentils, beans, milk, cheese etc.  Indian menu always comprise a protein rich curry and carbohydrates like rice, or wheat along with cooked veggies. We rarely eat raw vegetables, and mostly cooked and converted it into curries, stir fries etc.

My hubby and princess love this dal, and it is usually my hubby who makes this dal. I would only pressure cook the lentils and give him that, and from there on he will take over. If you go to any Indian restaurant, you will see Dal tadka and Dal fry in the menu. Both dishes are cooked with Masoor dal and spilt pigeon’s peas, even though sometimes toor dal is used. If you ask me what is difference I will say in the first tempering or seasoning is done at last where as second one tempering starts in beginning and rest of the ingredients added as cooking continuous.
Our lentil love starts as soon as we start weaning from mother’s milk; the little ones are fed with cooked dal water with a little salt added to it. Then when they are ready to eat table foods, they will be fed with mashed dal/lentils and rice along with some ghee. Once their tooth department is full means mouth full of teeth, they will be encouraged to eat chapathi and dal.
The dal tadka is north Indian style of cooking lentils, where as in my home town we prepare parippu curry/ spilt moong dal cooked with coconut and green chili. It is most common in our feast. I usually lure my husband to cook dal saying that I will make chapathi today, can you make dal. His answer will be immediately yes. I don’t know he doesn’t like my way of cooking dal. If I make it he will say it is good but I can make better than this.  Since I heard it a few times, I thought why am I wasting ingredients and getting this compliment. So let him cook it.
Only problem of his cooking is he starts putting pan in the stove first then starts cutting onion, tomato, and ginger-garlic. He makes a mess, some time if he is in good mood, he will clean the dishes, and actually he hates doing dishes. So I will help him to get back my kitchen in order.
I don’t know what magic he does, his dal curries are always tasty; my princess will come back and forth with plates to take chapathi and dal alternatively. He cooked this dal tadka but main part tempering or seasoning part is done by me. So you can call it a combined effort.
For this I first pressure cook the dal, and I used a combo of 5 mixed lentils; ( Mix includes masoor dal (split red lentil),  yellow moong dal (split yellow gram), Chana  dal ( Split chick peas) , Urad dal( split black gram)  and Toor dal (  split yellow pigeon peas)  . Then I heated the oil and added onion and green chili and then ginger garlic paste and tomato, and cooked until tomato becomes soft and then add cooked dal. And cook for a minute and switch it off. To this add tempering or seasoning. 
Traditionally tempering or seasoning at the end of cooking is made with ghee to make it rich. But my health consciousness prevented me from using ghee; I used oil, seasoned with cumin seeds, mustard seeds and red chili. 
 Grab your ingredients

Once it is seasoned it is ready to dig in, you can have it with chapathi or rice. I will go for chapathi.
Trust me some time simple dishes can make your day. These are little homemade comfort waiting for you. So if you are lentil lover, then go for it. 

Print recipe from here
Dal Tadka/ Seasoned Lentil Stew
Prep Time    20 minutes
Cook Time    35 minutes
Serves    5
3/4  cup  5 mixed dals  ( Mix includes masoor dal (split red lentil),  yellow moong dal (split yellow gram), Chana           dal ( Split chick peas) , Urad dal( split black gram)  and Toor dal (  split yellow pigeon peas)
1 green chilies, slit
1 tsp grated ginger (adrak)
1 tsp grated garlic (lehsun)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
3/4 cup Chopped  onions
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup Chopped  onions
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
salt to taste
For seasoning
1/2  tablespoon  + 1 teaspoon  Oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds ( rai / sarson)
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds ( Jeera seeds)
1 whole dry kashmiri red chilli, broken into pieces

For the garnish
3 tbsp chopped Cilantro/  coriander (dhania)

How We made:

Clean, wash and soak mixed dals in water for 20 minutes.
Drain, add 3 cups of water and pressure cook till the dals are tender. It takes about 25 minutes.
Make sure that steam is completely escaped before opening the lid.
Whisk so as to mash the dals. Keep aside.
Heat 1 teaspoon of oil and add onion and chopped green chilies and cook until onion is translucent or change color.
Then add tomato, ginger garlic paste and salt and cook for 2 -3 minutes or until tomatoes are mushy and become soft.
To this add cooked dal and mix everything to   combine well.
For the tempering/seasoning, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a deep pan and add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and red chili.  When the mustard seeds crackle, remove from the fire and add to cooked dal.
Serve hot garnished with cilantro/ coriander leaves.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

If you like this post,


  1. says

    My hubby’s fav too but he has never ever made it at home. I will do the honor of cooking and he will enjoy the dhal. Its lovely and deliciously prepared, prefect for white rice.

  2. says

    hello name buddy … same pinch again.. me to makes my tadka mostly like this .. a mix of the dals… isnt it just wonderful.. and loved ur way or quickly summarizing the steps..

  3. Leeni says

    Hey! Made it today but somehow mine came out quite watery! :( otherwise very delicious but the flavour wasn’t so strong because of the amount of water. Might have been my mistake, though, since we don’t use cups as measurement

    • Swathi says

      Sorry for the watery dal, May be next time you can reduce the amount of water. Thanks for giving me the feed back.