Dal tadka, my style

Sometimes, all you need is a plate of hot, simple food, without any frills. Dal tadka, white rice and potato curry is my go-to menu for such days. I love eating the dal tadka with phulka rotis, any simple vegetable curry and a salad – healthy food at its best.

I don’t know where I picked up the way I make dal tadka, but I remember preparing it the same way ever since I was in college. It is a favourite on rainy days with the OH.

Here is the recipe that I use.

Ingredients (for 2 people):

1 small cup of toor dal (boiled with a little water – I give it about 4 whistles in a pressure cooker)

Salt to taste

A pinch of asafoetida (hing)

About 4 cloves of garlic (peeled and very finely chopped)

A 1-inch piece of ginger (peeled and finely chopped)

2 medium-sized tomatoes (finely chopped)

2 medium-sized onions (finely chopped)

2 teaspoons oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin (jeera)

Turmeric powder to taste

Red chilli powder to taste (optional)

2 green chillies (slit lengthwise)

Juice of 1 lemon

A small bunch of fresh coriander leaves (finely chopped)


1. Heat the oil in a pan. When the oil is nice and hot, add the mustard seeds. Let them splutter.

2. Add the cumin. Let it turn a little brown.

3. Add the chopped ginger, garlic and onions and fry for a while, till the ginger gets soft and the onion and garlic gets brown.

4. Add the chopped tomatoes. Add salt to taste and a bit of water, and mix well. Cook till the tomatoes get mushy.

5. Now, add the boiled toor dal, slit green chillies, more salt (if required), red chilli powder to taste (if using), turmeric powder to taste and the asafoetida. If needed, add more water. Cook everything together for 7-8 minutes on a medium flame.

6. When the dal is almost done, add the lemon juice and finely chopped coriander. Mix well.

How do you make dal tadka?

What is your favourite home-cooked comfort food for gloomy days?

23 thoughts on “Dal tadka, my style

  1. My dal is very simple!
    cook the dal in pressure cooker.
    add tadka in a pan, add onions (optional), ginger, green chillies and curry leaves.
    then, add very little water , salt – let it boil.
    then add the dal, chopped coriander and lemon at the very end! πŸ˜€
    that and papad on a rainy day are the best combination!!

    Comfort food – rasam rice or curd rice with pickle! πŸ˜€


  2. My dal tadka recipe is just that – tadka on dal πŸ˜€

    Pressure cook dal with tomatoes and turmeric, when it is done, add salt and mash it up nicely and do a tadka of ghee with mustard, jeera, chopped garlic, one red chilli, curry leaves. End it up with adding finely chopped coriander leaves and close the vessel.

    I am going to try your recipe..it somehow makes me feel I will get the Kannadiga thillisaaru taste πŸ˜€


  3. you add the lemon after the dal is cooked? I have heard adding lime to anything that’s still cooking, it turns bitter? not true?
    I will definitely try this recipe!

    I make my dal tadka with the same ingredients as yours- minus mustard, jeera and the lemon. Directly add ginger n garlic to ghee (I use homemade ghee and not oil for dal). This makes the dal ginger-ly πŸ™‚ I do use lemon on my serving sometimes. dal-rice and some nice pickle is totally my thing any day!


  4. TGND, ahh..same pinch here..I do dal tadka exactly the same way except for 2 changes : a) sometimes forget to squeeze lemon in the end, b) sometimes, after step 4, I put the soaked toor dal in the pressure cooker and allow it to cook in there. Dal-chawal aka paruppu sadam is my favourite comfort food


  5. Your’s looks most inviting TGND. I would love to have it anytime πŸ™‚ Will try your version soon. Mine is slightly different and I remember it from the way amma used to make it. Sometimes we used to sit with plates in our hands, infront of the kitchen while amma served us her hot rotis and dal tadka. You made me recollect some golden memories, thanks much πŸ™‚


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