Dal Tadka Restaurant Style, How to make Dal Tadka (Stovetop & Instant Pot)

26/06/2020 Off Por juliana Costa
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Dal Tadka is a popular Indian lentil dish made with arhar dal or masoor dal and tempered in oil with spices and herbs. In this post I am sharing 2 versions of making dal tadka.

  • Restaurant Style Dal Tadka – Made on Stovetop and optional dhungar method.
  • Home Style Dal Tadka – Made in Instant Pot.

Both the recipes are easy and taste good. You can make either of them as per your preference. For making homestyle dal tadka on stovetop, check the notes section in the recipe card of instant pot dal tadka recipe.

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About Dal Tadka Restaurant Style

It is one of the most popular dal served in Indian restaurants. Basically, dal tadka are cooked lentils which are lastly tempered with oil or ghee fried spices & herbs.

I have to admit that I simply love the dal tadka that is served at the restaurants even though we hardly eat out. So I try to recreate the restaurant magic in most of the food that I make at home.

What does dal tadka mean

  • Dal is the Hindi term for lentils.
  • Tadka or chaunk is the Hindi term for tempering and is a commonly employed cooking technique in the Indian cuisine.
  • Tempering method has the spices & herbs fried in oil. The frying of the spices and herbs release their essential oils, aroma and flavor in the hot oil. Then this fried and spiced oil mixture is added to prepared lentils or cooked rice or steamed vegetables which greatly changes the flavor, aroma and taste of the dish. Tempering is very much a part of cooking Indian food. In fact we temper almost everything like dal, veggies, chutneys etc.

Lentils added

  1. Tuvar dal – Generally dal tadka is made with tuvar dal or arhar dal also known as split pigeon pea lentils. In the post, I have shared the dal recipe made with tuvar dal.
  2. Moong dal – Even moong lentils can be used to make the recipe. At times I make this recipe both with tuvar dal and moong dal. The recipe can also be made with a mix of masoor dal (red lentils) and pigeon pea lentils. If you want to use moong dal then you can refer this post – Moong Dal Tadka.

This Dal Tadka recipe is North Indian style than South Indian style.

dal tadka restaurant style recipe

Tips for making Dal Tadka

  • Preparation: It is quite easy to prepare. First, make the dal and then lastly temper it just before serving. You can also make the dal ready and keep in the fridge. Before serving heat the dal and then just temper it. Serve immediately. However for best taste always prepare the dal fresh. It not only tastes good but also a healthier choice.
  • Type of Lentils: You can make it with any yellow dal (split lentils). I make it sometimes with Arhar dal (split pigeon pea lentils) and Masoor dal (split pink lentils) and sometimes only with Arhar dal.
  • Tomatoes: I have added tomatoes to the dal tadka but you can skip adding tomatoes.
  • Dhungar Method: In the step by step pics below, I have illustrated the charcoal smoking method as I have got a few comments and requests for this technique. This method is called the dhungar in Hindi. You can easily skip this method if you don’t have charcoal.
  • Consistency: The dal tadka consistency is neither thick nor thin but medium. But if you prefer you can go for a slightly thick or thin dal consistency.
  • Soaking Lentils: You can also soak the dal for 30 to 40 minutes before cooking them. It helps in cooking the lentils faster and a recommended step.

The tempering adds a lot of flavor and aroma to the dal. The plain cooked creamy yellow dal gets paired beautifully with steamed rice or jeera rice (cumin flavored pilaf). For tempering you can add ghee instead of oil. I have used sunflower oil.

The Dal tadka can be served with rotis and chapatis and steamed basmati rice or cumin rice. At times I flavor the dal tadka with a smoky burnt aroma of blazing charcoal.

How to make Dal Tadka Restaurant Style

1. Rinse the lentils and add them to the pressure cooker. The below pic shows only tuvar (arhar dal or split pigeon pea lentils). You can also cook the lentils in a pot. Just soak the lentils for an hour or two before you cook them in a pot. Cooking the lentils in a pot, will take more time than cooking in the pressure cooker. Method on how to cook lentils in a pot is mentioned in the notes section of the recipe card below.

making dal tadka recipe

2. To the lentils, add chopped onions, tomato, green chilies, ginger.

making dal tadka recipe

3. Pour 2.5 cups of water. If cooking in a pot, then about 4 to 4.5 cups of water can be added.

making dal tadka recipe

4. Add turmeric powder and asafoetida (hing).

making restaurant style dal tadka recipe

5. Stir well.

preparing dal tadka recipe restaurant style

6. Pressure cook the lentils for about 7 to 8 whistles or more till they become soft and creamy. Mash the dal with a wired whisk or with a spoon and keep aside. If the dal looks thick, then add some water. About ½ cup to 1 cup water (depending on the thickness of the dal) to get a medium consistency. Simmer the dal for 3 to 4 minutes. Consistency of the lentils in the below pic.

preparing dal tadka recipe

7. Once the desired consistency is reached, add cream (optional), garam masala powder, crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves), chopped coriander leaves and salt. Switch off the fire. Please note crushed kasuri methi can also be added in the tempering later and skipped at this step.

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preparing dal tadka recipe

8. Mix well so that everything combines uniformly. check salt before you add the tempering. If less than add more salt.

preparing dal tadka recipe

9. The final consistency of the dal.

preparing restaurant style dal tadka recipe

Optional – dhungar method for dal tadka

10. Next is the dhungar method of flavoring the dal tadka with the smoky fumes of burnt charcoal. For this with the help of tongs or on a grill pan like shown in the pic below, place a small piece of charcoal. Burn the charcoal till it becomes red hot. Please use natural charcoal for this method. Note that This is an optional step and you can proceed directly to the tempering method.

preparing dal tadka recipe

11. Place the red hot charcoal in a small steel bowl. You can also use onion layers or a halved hollow onion for the same.

preparing dal tadka recipe

12. Pour about ¼ tsp of oil or ghee on the charcoal. You will see fumes emanating as soon as you pour oil or ghee on the hot charcoal.

preparing dal tadka recipe

13. Place this bowl on the dal.

preparing restaurant style dal tadka recipe

14. Cover the cooker or the pot with a lid and let the dal get infused with the charcoal smoke. Just keep for 1 to 2 minutes. The more you keep. The more smoky the dal will become. Remove the bowl carefully with the help of tongs and cover the dal. Keep aside.

preparing restaurant style dal tadka recipe

Making tempering for dal tadka

15. Next heat oil or ghee or butter in a small pan. First, add cumin seeds and crackle them. The cumin should get fried and not be raw, but don’t burn them.

making tadka dal recipe, dal tadka

16. now add red chilies, asafoetida and chopped garlic. Let the garlic brown and the red chilies change color.

making tadka dal recipe

17. Lastly add kasuri methi (add kasuri methi, if you have not added them before to the dal) and red chili powder. Stir and switch off the stove. Make sure to fry the tempering ingredients at a low flame, so that you don’t burn them.

making tadka dal recipe

18. Pour entire tempering along with the oil/ghee into the dal.

tadka dal recipe, dal tadka

19. You can mix the dal with tempering or Serve the dal tadka with the tempering on top it. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve it hot with steamed basmati rice, cumin rice or with Indian flatbreads like roti or paratha or chapati.

Dal is a staple in Indian food. India has so many varieties of dal recipes. Each region, each state having their own delicious recipes. Few more Popular dal recipes are:

This recipe post is from the archives (July 2012) and has been republished and updated on 4 June 2020.

Many of my recipes have detailed step by step photos and useful tips to help you make it easily and perfectly.

Dal Tadka

This restaurant style dal tadka is a smooth and creamy dal tempered with Indian spices with a smoky charcoal flavor.

dal tadka recipe
Servings (change the number to scale):4 to 5

(1 CUP = 250 ML)

preparation

  • Rinse the lentils and add them to the pressure cooker. The below pic shows only tuvar or arhar dal. You can also cook the lentils in a pot. Just soak the lentils for an hour or two before you cook them in a pot. Cooking the lentils in a pot, will take more time than cooking in the pressure cooker. Method on how to cook lentils in a pot is mentioned in the notes section of recipe details below

  • To the lentils, add chopped onions, tomato, green chilies, ginger.

  • Pour 2.5 cups water. If cooking in a pot, then about 4 to 4.5 cups water can be added.

  • Add turmeric powder and asafoetida. Stir well.

  • Pressure cook the lentils for about 7 to 8 whistles or more till they become soft and creamy. Mash the dal with a wired whisk or with a spoon and keep aside. If the dal looks thick, then add some water to get a medium consistency. Simmer the dal for 3 to 4 minutes. Pic of the consistency of the lentils in step 6

  • Once the desired consistency is reached, add cream (optional), garam masala powder, crushed kasuri methi, chopped coriander leaves and salt. Switch off the fire. Please note crushed kasuri methi can also be added in the tempering later and skipped at this step.

  • Mix well so that everything combines uniformly. Check salt before you add the tempering. If less than add more salt.

dhungar method (optional) for dal tadka

  • Next is the dhungar method of flavoring the dal with the smoky fumes of burnt charocal. For this with the help of tongs or on a grill pan like shown in the pic below, place the a small piece of charcoal. Burn the charcoal till it becomes red hot. Please use natural charcoal for this method.note that this is an optional step and you can proceed directly to the tempering method.

  • Place the red hot charcoal in a small steel bowl.

  • Pour about 1/4 tsp of oil or ghee on the charcoal. You will see fumes emanating as soon as you pour oil or ghee on the hot charcoal.

  • Place this bowl on the dal.

  • Cover the cooker or the pot with a lid and let the dal get infused with the charcoal smoke. Just keep for 1 to 2 minutes. The more you keep. The more smoky the dal will become. Remove the bowl carefully with the helps of tongs and cover the dal. Keep aside.

making the tempering (tadka or chaunk)

  • Next heat oil or ghee or butter in a small pan. First add cumin seeds and crackle them. The cumin should get fried and not be raw but don’t burn them.

  • Now add red chilies, asafoetida and chopped garlic. Let the garlic brown and the red chilies change color.

  • Lastly add kasuri methi (add kasuri methi, if you have not added before to the dal) and red chili powder. Stir and switch off the stove. Make sure to fry the tempering ingredients at a low flame, so that you don’t burn them.

  • Pour the entire tempering along with the oil/ghee into the dal.

  • You can mix the dal or serve the dal tadka with the tempering on top it. Garnish it with coriander leaves. Serve dal tadka hot with steamed basmati rice, jeera rice or with rotis or phulkas.

  • Instead of oil you can temper the dal with ghee (clarified butter).
  • The dal tadka consistency is neither thick nor thin but medium. But if you prefer you can go for a slightly thick or thin dal consistency.
  • You can also soak the dal for 30 to 40 minutes before cooking them.
  • For tempering you can add ghee instead of oil. I have used sunflower oil.
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For cooking the dal or lentils in a pot

  1. Soak the lentils for about 1 to 2 hours. Drain and rinse then well in water.
  2. In a deep pot, add 4 to 5 cups water added to the lentils. Add the rest of the ingredients mentioned in the recipe.
  3. Cover and cook the lentils. If the water begins to froth and bubble, then remove the lid or cover it partly and continue to cook the lentils till they become soft and creamy.
  4. If the water becomes less, then add some hot water.
  5. Once the lentils are cooked (takes from 45 minutes to an hour or sometimes more… depends on the quality of the lentils). Then follow the recipe further.
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About Instant Pot Dal Tadka

Dal is a staple at home and I make them in different varieties. What I am sharing in this post, is a version that has been made for decades and is still being made.

A family recipe and one which I make often. A comforting and nourishing dal recipe which I hope you enjoy as much as we do. This is a vegan recipe and can be made gluten-free by skipping asafoetida.

instant pot dal tadka served in a brass pot with a brass spoon inside the brass pot

There are many variations of making dal tadka. This instant pot recipe is a home-style version and tastes good like an everyday home cooked food.

After getting the instant pot, I have been making dal in it. I have stopped using the stove-top pressure cooker completely. Thus I have updated this post with the instant pot method also. I have included the stovetop method of this homestyle dal tadka in the recipe card.

At times I even cook the rice along with the dal. I usually serve this dal tadka with roti (Indian flatbread) or steamed rice. So when making rice, I cook the rice and dal together in the IP.

It is best served with some steamed basmati rice. You can also serve with chapati or roti or dinner rolls.

instant pot dal tadka served in a brass pot on a jute fabric on a brown wooden table

How to make Instant Pot Dal Tadka

1. Take ½ cup arhar dal (tuvar dal or pigeon pea lentils) in a bowl or colander.

arhar dal in a bowl

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2. Rinse a couple of times and add the rinsed dal in the instant pot steel insert.

adding arhar dal in instant pot

3. Add ⅓ heaped cup sliced onions, ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes, 2 green chillies or serrano peppers (sliced, slit or chopped).

onions tomatoes in instant pot

4. Add ½ tsp turmeric powder,  ½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder and a pinch of asafoetida (hing).

spices added to instant pot

5. Pour 1.5 cup water. Mix well.

water added to instant pot

6. Mix very well. At this step if you plan to cook rice, then place a tall trivet and add rice+water in a steaming pan. Place the pan on the trivet.

mix the dal ingredients in instant pot

7. Switch on the IP. Secure the lid and position the steam release handle to sealing. Press the pressure cook button and set the timer for 15 minutes on high pressure.

Depending on the quality and age of lentils, it can take 10 to 15 minutes. I prefer the dal to be cooked really well and mushy without any separate grains visible, so I cook the lentils for 15 minutes.

At times I have even cooked the lentils for 20 minutes. So depending on the quality of dal, you can decide upon the timing. Anyways, even if the lentils are undercooked, you can always pressure cook for some more minutes later.

pressure cooking dal in instant pot

8. Give NPR (natural pressure release) after 10 minutes. Release the pressure after 10 minutes and open the IP lid. The lentils have to be cooked very well and become soft and mushy.

If the consistency of dal looks thick, then add some hot water to thin it. If dal looks thin, then use the sauté option and simmer dal for a few minutes.

cooked lentils in instant pot

9. With a spoon lightly mash the dal. If the dal looks thick, you can add some hot water.

mash the cooked lentils in instant pot

10. Season with salt as per taste and stir very well. Cover the cooked dal with the IP lid and begin with the tempering

add salt in instant pot

Preparing tempering (tadka)

11. In a small pan or tadka pan, heat 2 tablespoon oil. Keep the flame to low or medium-low. Add ½ teaspoon small mustard seeds.

mustard seeds being added to hot oil

12. Let the mustard seeds crackle.

crackle mustard seeds

13. Then add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds.

add cumin seeds to oil

14. The cumin seeds will crackle as soon as you add them in oil. Let them change their color.

crackle cumin seeds

15. Then add 4 to 5 medium garlic cloves, crushed lightly with their peels on. You can also slice or chop the garlic. Fry for some seconds stirring often. The garlic can be a light golden but do not brown them or burn them.

garlic cloves added to oil

16. Add 1 to 2 dry red chilies (broken and deseeded).

added 1 to 2 dry red chilies

17. Add 9 to 10 curry leaves.  fry for a few seconds till the red chilies change color and the curry leaves become crisp.

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curry leaves for tempering

18. Pour the entire tempering mixture in the dal.

pour the entire tempering mixture in the dal

19. Mix very well.

mix tempering with dal

20. Lastly, add 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)

garnishing with coriander leaves

21. Stir and Serve the dal tadka with steamed rice or roti. You can garnish with some coriander leaves while serving.

instant pot dal tadka served in a brass pot on a jute fabric on a brown wooden table

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Many of my recipes have detailed step by step photos and useful tips to help you make it easily and perfectly.

Instant Pot Dal Tadka

Delicious home-style dal tadka in the instant pot. Dal is a staple in Indian homes. It is a lentil preparation where cooked lentils are tempered with spices.

instant pot dal tadka

Diet:vegan,vegetarian

Difficulty Level:Easy

Servings (change the number to scale):3

(1 CUP = 250 ML)

pressure cooking dal

  • Take the lentils in a bowl or colander.

  • Rinse a couple of times and add the rinsed dal in the ip steel insert.

  • Add sliced onions, chopped tomatoes, green chilies (sliced, slit or chopped), turmeric powder, red chilli powder and a pinch of asafoetida.

  • Pour water. Mix well. Secure the lid and position the steam release handle to sealing.

  • Press the pressure cook button and set the timer for 15 minutes on high pressure.

  • Give npr (natural pressure release) of 10 minutes.

  • Release the pressure after 10 minutes and open the ip lid. The lentils have to be cooked very well and become soft and mushy. With a spoon lightly mash the dal mixture.

  • If the dal looks thick, you can add some hot water.

  • Then season with salt as per taste and mix.

  • Cover the cooked dal with the ip lid and begin with the tempering.

tempering (tadka)

  • In a small pan or tadka pan, heat oil. Add the mustard seeds.

  • Let the mustard seeds crackle. Then add the cumin seeds. The cumin seeds will also crackle and brown when you add them.

  • Add 4 to 5 medium garlic cloves, crushed lightly with peels. You can also slice or chop the garlic. Fry for some seconds. Do not brown or burn the garlic.

  • Add the dry red chilies (broken and deseeded), curry leaves. Fry till the red chillies change color and the curry leaves become crisp.

  • Pour the entire tempering mixture in the dal. Mix very well.

  • Lastly add chopped coriander leaves.

  • Mix again and serve the dal tadka with steamed rice or roti. You can garnish with some coriander leaves while serving. 

Tips for instant pot dal tadka:

  1. Depending on the quality and age of lentils, the cooking time can vary from 10 to 15 minutes. I prefer the dal to be cooked really well and mushy without any separate grains visible, so I cook the lentils for 15 minutes. Thus depending on the quality of dal, you can decide upon the timing. Even if the lentils are undercooked, you can always pressure cook for some more minutes later.
  2. Asaofoetida can be skipped.
  3. To make a spicy dal, add more green chillies. 
  4. If the dal has a thick consistency, add some hot water to thin it.
  5. If the dal consistency looks thin, press the sauté button and simmer for a few minutes. 

Making this home style dal tadka on stovetop:

  • Add the rinsed lentils, chopped onions, tomatoes, green chillies, asafoetida, turmeric powder, red chilli powder in a 2-litre pressure cooker.
  • Add 2 cups water.
  • Pressure cook the dal for 8 to 9 whistles or 14 to 15 minutes. When the pressure comes down on its own, in the cooker, check the dal. The lentils have to be cooked very well and become soft and mushy.
  • With a spoon lightly mash the dal mixture.
  • Then add ½ to 1 cup water to the dal. You can add water as required depending on the consistency you want. For a thicker dal, add less water and for a thin dal, add slightly more water. 
  • Stir very well. Season with salt as per taste.
  • Keep the dal on stove top and simmer for some minutes till you get the desired consistency. Do stir the dal at intervals so that the dal does not get browned or burnt from the base. Cover and keep aside.
  • Later fry the spices and herbs in the oil and add to the dal. 
  • Add coriander leaves. Mix and serve. 

For cooking the dal (lentils) in a pot or pan:

  1. Soak the lentils for about 1 to 2 hours. Drain and rinse them well in water.
  2. In a deep pot, add 4 to 5 cups water added to the lentils. Add the rest of the ingredients mentioned in the recipe. Cover and cook the lentils.
  3. If the water begins to froth and bubble, then remove the lid or cover it partly and continue to cook the lentils till they become soft and creamy.
  4. If the water becomes less, then add some hot water. Once the lentils are cooked (takes from 45 mins to an hour or sometimes more. Depends on the quality of the lentils). Then follow the recipe further as mentioned above. 

Nutrition Facts

Instant Pot Dal Tadka

Amount Per Serving

Calories 193 Calories from Fat 90

% Daily Value*

Fat 10g15%

Saturated Fat 1g6%

Sodium 473mg21%

Potassium 93mg3%

Carbohydrates 21g7%

Fiber 5g21%

Sugar 3g3%

Protein 6g12%

Vitamin A 469IU9%

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 38mg190%

Vitamin B6 1mg50%

Vitamin C 73mg88%

Vitamin E 4mg27%

Vitamin K 3µg3%

Calcium 48mg5%

Vitamin B9 (Folate) 398µg100%

Iron 1mg6%

Magnesium 8mg2%

Phosphorus 19mg2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All our content & photos are copyright protected. Please do not copy. As a blogger, if you want to adapt this recipe or make a youtube video, then please write the recipe in your own words and give a clickable link back to the recipe on this url.
Then do follow and SUBSCRIBE to us on youtube to get the latest Recipe Video updates.
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