Tadka Dal Fry

Tadka Dal Fry (aka Tadka Dhal) is a wonderful combination of 3 different types of Daals (lentils). The taste is just amazing and will have everyone guessing which daal it is. Blend it well for a smooth texture or leave it where you can see the channa daal and enjoy the textured look and feel.

Prep time: 10min. + 20min. (for soaking)
Cook time: 30min.
Serves: 4


Toor Daal (Split pigeon peas)- 1/3rd of a cup
Mung Daal (Split mung beans) – 1/3rd of a cup
Channa Daal (Split garbanzo beans)- 1/3rd of a cup
Water – 3 cups
Oil – 1 tbsp
Onion – 1 med., finely chopped
Turmeric Powder – 1/4th tsp
Cumin Powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder – to taste
Salt – to taste
For Tadka (Seasoning):
Clarified Butter (Ghee) – 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida – pinch
Curry Leaves – few
Garlic – 2 cloves, finely chopped
Ginger – 1 tsp, grated
Green Chili – to taste, slit
Lime Juice – to taste
Cilantro – Garnish, finely chopped


1. Combine all the daals, wash well and soak for 20-30 minutes.
2. Drain out the water and put it in a pressure cooker.
3. Add Water and a little bit of Salt.
4. Cover and pressure cook on medium heat and allow it to whistle 3 times.
5. Meanwhile, in a pan, heat Oil on medium flame.
6. Once the Oil is hot, add in the Turmeric Powder and the Asafoetida.
7. We can then add in the Onions and a little Salt and cook the onions till they turn translucent.
8. Once done, add in the dry powders – Cumin, Red Chili, Coriander and Garam Masala.
9. Cook for 10-15 seconds.
10. Stir in the Daal, check Salt and Water consistency and allow it to boil for 4-5 minutes.
11. Pour in a serving dish and set aside.
12. For the tadka, take a small skillet and heat up the Clarified Butter on medium heat.
13. Once hot, add in the Mustard Seeds and allow them to pop.
14. Add in Cumin Seeds, Curry Leaves, Green Chilis, Garlic, Ginger and cook for a few minutes.
15. Top the Daal with this tadka, Cilantro Leaves and Lime Juice.


1. Use different daals for a refreshing change.

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0 thoughts on “Tadka Dal Fry

  1. I tried this y’day for the first time for about 30 people & it came out awesome 🙂
    I forgot to add lime juice but still it tasted great..thanks lot for this wonderful recipe.

  2. Hello hetal and anuja i just love your website it is so useful for recipe ideas i just wanted to say that on the tardka dal recipe you cook your dals in a pressure cooker but when i make any type of dal i never use a pressure cooker as i find it does not taste the same as you would make in a normal cooking pot i really find it makes a big difference to the taste of any dish i no it saves time for people who are very busy but i felt i just had to comment on this hope i havent offended you guys in any way as i do love your site and you both are amazing people keep up the good work

    1. Hi Pamela,

      We have to agree with you on this. Cooking daal in a pot versus a pressure cooker does indeed provide better taste and texture. However, with our busy lives, we have to sacrifice on some things. Pressure cooked daals are not horrible and we can better utilize that time. If someone were to have the time, then definitely skip the pressure cooker.

  3. Hi you guys, great dal recipe! So far one of my favorites. Just made the Khatti and Chan-toor dals and loved them. Lentils uses to be one of those ingredienrs that just sat on my pantry shelf for eternity but these recipes keep me on my toes! Anyways how should I go about submitting recipes.
    Thanks, Archie

  4. How can I make your daals without use of a pressure cooker and what adjustments are required to amounts water to be used, etc?
    (someone has asked this above but there has been no reply from you)

    1. Hi Vikk,

      Unfortunately, we do not have exact water requirements for cooking daal without a pressure cooker. We always use one because of the time savings. Avoid adding salt until the daal is cooked. Add water gradually and as needed while the daal is cooking. Ultimately, the amount of water you use will depend on the consistency you want.

  5. Great,yummy tasting easy recipe. I made it yesterday and it tasted wonderful.Ate with Jeera rice with few veggies in it.

  6. Dear Hetal & Anuja,

    Thank you both for all your recipes. Your recipes have really delighted my home parties at the time when I relocated from India and had no idea about cooking. Just need to know if I can combine masoor dal with moong and chana dal for this recipe instead of toor dal.

    Thanks and looking foward to more such exotic dishes.


  7. I’am Confusing With Mustard seeds.”Mustrad seeds” is showing on the video.Iam searching it’s nepali name.it is marich or sarsun?
    Thanks for the delicious recepie.

  8. I’m white, but after living in Lahore for 2 years and having a mother in law who is the most amazing cook I’ve gotten pretty brave and started cooking myself. There are some amazing recipes on here that I’d not come across in all the desi homes/restaurants I’ve been to. Thanks for helping me make my favorites and introducing me to new ones!

    1. Hi Lee,

      Yes, you will see a black box with a bunch of icons at the top of each post. Click on the 5th one from the right…its the printer friendly button :).

  9. Hello, if I don’t have a pressure cooker, how long do you recommend cooking it on the stove? Do I use the same amount of water? Thanks!

  10. Hello Hetal & Anuja

    If I want to make it using just Toor Daal then will it going to make any difference in the taste? Also, can you please tell me how many cups of Daal (Toor & also all three) I will need to serve 8 people.

  11. I made this exactly as per the recipe & it turned out to be simply amazing .. thanks guys … I trying once recipe at a time from your website & each one of them rock & I receive truck loads of compliments !! 🙂

  12. hello,
    why shouls we put onion and tadaka exculsively on different skillet….why can’t we do it at same time in same skillet….please explain dear

    1. Hi there,
      Every time you add onions or seasoning at different times, there is a different level of flavors. You can try and combine it but you will be amazed at the difference 🙂

  13. I made this today and I ‘m having now…tasted great…thanks a tone…I love ur cooking and I have tried most of the things…wonderful receipes…keep up the great job…

  14. Dear Hetal and Anuja,

    Let me introduce myself – I am an Indonesian student who currently studies in Singapore and am a rabid fan of Indian cuisine.

    Being alone in a foreign country, I sometimes miss the homey and hearty Indonesian food that I grew accustomed to. But here in Singapore, I couldn’t find a single Indonesian restaurant that would satisfy my craving for such food. Indonesian cooking, just like Indian, often requires laboriously long process and many of the ingredients that are required for cooking authentic Indonesian dishes are not really accessible.

    So I called my mom in desperation and guess what she told me. Yes! She told me to resort to Indian food as it uses those herbs and spices that are similar to Indonesian’s and are readily accessible here (because Indian is one of the major races in Singapore).

    Your website has helped me to learn the joy of cooking. I had never been in the kitchen in the past until about 6 months ago, and the first edible thing that I made is YOUR spicy chicken curry and it was an instant hit with my friends – an Indian dish for crying out loud which is notorious for, well, being complicated and requires billions of spices and herbs. Crazy right? I’ve been making at least two Indian dishes per week ever since.

    I’ve also been religiously experimenting on dishes (especially Indian) by watching your fabulous videos. God, I trust nobody to tell me how to make those dishes but you.

    I made this daal dish just this afternoon and an Indian neighbour of mine, came knocking on my door and asked what I was making cuz it smelled, quote, “divine” (btw, she is a housewive with 2 children). I invited her to try my tadka dal fry (100% credits to both of you) and she was in awe. She asked me where did I learn to make such fabulous dish and I told here to go to your channel and subscribe. And now I am a friend of a happy plump Indian auntie. LOL.

    Anyway, kudos to both of you and I am ever grateful =) You guys ROCK MY WORLD.

    Yours truly


    ps: I love Indian masalas so much that I’ve been putting chaat and garam masala on everything except ice cream

    1. Hi Blahnik,

      What an awesome comment! You have put a very BIG smile on our faces 😀 ! Thank you so much for taking the time to write to us. What you wrote is exactly the goal we had in mind when we first started SMTC and it’s great to know we are headed in the right direction 🙂

      Say a big hello to your Auntie from us and lots of Cheers and Good Luck to you 🙂

      -Hetal & Anuja

  15. Hi,Just want to let you guys know that this was was highly appreciated by my kids and husband .Also the guys at my husband’s workpalce liked it so much.Thanx.

  16. Hi Girls,
    I am not sure if you remember the guy from Rhode Island, US who does not have an Indian restaurant nearby. My wife is visiting India and I have to cook again but this time it was much easier as I knew that I could go to your fabulous website and cook whatever I wanted. Yesterday I made tadka daal and I liked it so much for its simplicity and taste that I am making it again for today.
    Kudos to both of you….

  17. hi i really enjoy your recepies but were iam there is no curry leaves or methi leaves i looked all over what else can i use to make my dall taste good thank you

    1. Hi Maryam,
      You use a little bit of fenugreek seeds/methi seeds (whole or powdered) – but very little.
      You can skip the Curry leaves, it’ll still taste great! 🙂

      1. thank you so much for your help anuja 🙂
        i tryed the dall and my hubby loved it.
        we are from diffrent countries he is pakistani and im portugese 🙂 this site really helps me alot on how to cook indian and pakistani style the recepies are amazing dilecious

        thanks again 🙂

  18. Hi Ladies:

    Love your site and your recipes. I have a pressure cooker question – mine is a Swiss, non-whistle kind, so I’m trying to figure out to translate the timing called for in your recipes to mine. For example, three whistles would be what, like 15 minutes total time under pressure? Thanks again, Ranjit

    1. Hi Ranjit,
      For pressure cookers that do not whistle, the rule of thumb is :
      once the pressure is created (that indication is different in all cookers – mine has a red button that pops up when the pressure has formed) on high heat, after that reduce the heat to a medium and each whistle is about 3 minutes. Now this is only a guideline…check it out with daals (stuff with lots of liquid) so that there is lower chance of it burning…good it experiment 🙂

  19. Hetal and Anuja,
    Do you have the pressure cooker used here in your kitchen store? Also, your kitchen store is under maintenance. Do you know when it will be back?

    I hate dhals. I force myself to eat them though because they are nutritious. I find them so boring. But this one seems different. I will try this one.

    1. Hi Narmada,

      Yes, the kitchen store is under maintenance and will be up and running on the 2-3 days. Sorry about that. There is are pressure cookers in our kitchen store similar size to this one. Please check back.

      Yes, daals are very nutritious. I, as a kid could not stand them but now, I can have some everyday. You just have to find a way of making it that you really enjoy.
      Stay healthy!

  20. Hey Hetal and Anuja,

    I would lie to start off by saying that your recipes are such a great source for recipes for students abroad. I have a question which maybe quite basic. Does the chopping of onions serve some purpose like giving texture to the dal. If not, I’d like to blend the onions to puree. Frankly, cutting them is painstaking. So if blending would be fine, that would be great. Please let me know.


    1. Hi Tejas,

      We’re so glad that SMTC is useful to you and other students…it’s a great feedback to have :).

      Onions, in some recipes, do provide texture (especially if they are on the raw side). In this recipe, the chana daal will give you enough texture so it would be ok to grind the onions. Just a word of caution (from personal experience), sometimes, grinding onions causes them to become bitter. It has something to do with the cell walls releasing the bitterness. Using a food processor would be a better option. I understand that students do not have access to all kitchen gadgets so another option is to chop a bunch of onions at once and freeze them in small ziploc bags. If you are not planning to use them raw, they work perfectly and you can take out one small bag at a time.

  21. Hi hetal,How are you…well,i just wanted to ask that can we use tomatoes,too, in this recipe??? because i love tomatoes?? by the way your dishes are fantastic,now i dont need going to cooking classes..!

    1. Hi,
      Tomatoes will go well with the dish, infact I have made it with tomatoes once (I added it in the tadka) and reduced the amount of Lemon Juice as tomatoes add a little to the tartness.

  22. Hi Anuja and Hetal,
    I tried this daal, but didn’t have any toor daal left, so I just used channa and moong…and it still came out GREAT!!! It has an incredible flavour..I can’t wait to get more toor daal and try it with all three…

  23. Great recipe. I made it the other day and it tasted wonderful.. Me and my husband really enjoyed it. Thank you so much for making this wondering dishes and sharing to all of us.

    Great Job…

  24. Wow what a tasty daal. I just tried it today and it came out really well and my family enjoyed it. you girls rock! Thanks so much for making a video on all mouth watering dishes.

  25. For many years i have seen indian dishes and get discouraged about all the ingredients i must locate. But not this time. your video was so appetizing i could not resist. all i needed to find was the Asafoetida, Curry Leaves and the daals.

    in fact i am eating the Tadka Dal Fry as i am typeing this. it is absolutely delicious!

    Your videos are excellent and i am sure to try more of your recipes and enjoy more of your videos.

  26. Love your website – can you please tell me the kind of pressure cooker (brand & size) you use? I’ve been looking for the right one, and the cooker appearing in this video seems just the right size/design that I am looking for.

    While I’m at it, the other kadhai-style (deep) pan you often use looks great too – is it non-stick and can you tell me the brand for that one as well?

    By the way – I make your palak daal over and over again and can never tire of it!


    1. Hello Katherine,

      You can get the Pressure Cooker in any Indian Store in US.
      The pressure cookers are also available on Amazon but those are not that rough and tough compared to the ones made in Asia..
      Hope this helps !!


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