Tadka Dal (My way )

First of all the reason I put ” my way” in the caption is to pacify all the food nazis who will jump and say this is wrong. this is not the way, etc. etc. Actually I have always liked the simple and minimalistic way Tadka Dal is made in Dhabas or any decent roadside eatery. Try as much as I want, I cannot replicate the exact taste, prolly because I don’t have wood/coal fire to cook which I feel imparts a definite smoky flavor and a totally different dimension to this humble Dal. After a long time I again stopped at a highway restaurant , Chital Lodge, on my way back from a short trip to Mussoorie. Famished as we were and with no non-veg options I was not at all in the mood to go for the ever popular Dal Makhni, so we setteled for Tadka Dal and some Tandoori rotis and few other things. Must say it was a pure delight, and I just wanted to start singing , ” Dal roti khao, prabhu ke gun gao” :p . Well jokes apart the dal was loved by my kids too and so the moment I landed back in Delhi , I had to try it. So I tried to figure out what all it had and with a few tips from the net I made it and it was a hit . It is such a simple recipe that I have made it a few times since then . It can be had with roti or also with jeera rice. So please excuse if my dish wavers from the path of authenticity, as long it is relished by my family I think I am okay 😀 .


Ingredients :

  • 1 Cup – Chana Dal
  • 1/4th Cup – Arhar/Toor Dal
  • A big Thumb size – Ginger, cut into julienne
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt, or as per your liking
  • 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder

For the Tadka :

  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin seeds
  • 3-4 Dry Red Chillis (whole)
  • A big Pinch of Asafoetida/Hing
  • 5-6 Cloves Garlic , chopped
  • 4-5 Medium ripe Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tbs Coriander powder
  • 2-3 Green Chillis, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 3 Tbs Oil
  • 3 Tbs Ghee
  • Chopped Coriander leaves for Garnish

Method :

  • Wash the dals nicely and soak for about 10-15 minutes. Put in a pressure cooker with enough water to cover the dal and little more.
  • Add the salt, turmeric and ginger julienne. Cook for one whistle on high and then lower the heat and cook for another 10 minutes or more depending on how mushy you want the dal. Remove and let it cool.


  • Meanwhile take a wok and heat the oil and ghee together. Splutter the cumin seeds and the red chillis.
  • Add the garlic and once it browns a bit add the chopped tomatoes, salt, turmeric, coriander powder and green chilli ( if using). Fry this till the tomatoes become mushy.



  • Once the cooker has cooled down, remove the cover and churn the dal once with a firki ( churner) and pour it into the wok with masala. Bring it to a boil stirring continuously and then lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes.


  • Adjust the seasoning , remove and serve hot garnished with chopped coriander leaves.

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