Dal Tadka / Easy Lentils Curry Punjabi Style

Dal Tadka / Easy Lentils Curry Punjabi Style

Feeling lazy? Or feeling like something simple and home-made? I bet dal chawal is what hits your mind first. It’s the quintessential comfort food for most of us from the subcontinent and though I am sure you hardly look-up a dal tadka recipe on the internet, you might want to see if this one tingles your taste buds as much as it does mine 🙂

Source: Adapted from my ex-Punjabi nanny’s version

Cooking Time: Under 30 minutes


  1. Dals – 1 cup (I used Toor Dal – 1/2 cup & Yellow Moong Dal – 1/2 cup)
  2. Onion – 1/2, chopped fine
  3. Tomato – 1 chopped fine
  4. Dry Red chilies – 2 or 3
  5. Green chilies – 2 or 3 slit
  6. Ginger – 2″ piece, shredded
  7. Garlic – 1 tbsp, minced
  8. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  9. Cumin (jeera) seeds – 1 tbsp
  10. Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  11. White Urad Dal – 1 tbsp
  12. Curry leaves – few (optional)
  13. Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
  14. Red chili powder – 1/2 tbsp or to taste
  15. Garam masala – a pinch
  16. Asafoetida (Hing) – a pinch
  17. Oil or Ghee – 2 tbsp
  18. Salt – To taste
  19. Cilantro – few stems, chopped for garnishing
  20. Lime juice – from 1/2 lime, for garnishing (optional)


  1. Boil the dals until fully done to mash-able consistency (about 4 to 5 whistles in a pressure cooker). You can use any kid here, I just prefer to use a combination of toor and moong dal to give it a light-weight feel and better consistency. You could even add in a handful of Channa dal if you like. Mash the dal and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan.
  3. Add mustard, urad dal, red chilies and jeera and allow mustard to crackle.
  4. Add the curry leaves, turmeric powder, hing, garlic and ginger and saute for a minute until slightly golden brown.
  5. Add the chopped onions with some salt and saute until slightly brown all over.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and green chilies and saute until the tomatoes and cooked and mushy.
  7. Add the dry spices – cumin powder, red chili powder and garam masala and saute for a minute or two, until oil oozes out. That seems to be key in most punjabi-style bases. Make sure the spices don’t burn though.
  8. Add a cup of water (more or less to bring to desired consistency) and bring to a simmer. Add more salt and/ or chilli powder to taste.
  9. Add the mashed dal and mix everything well until combined.
  10. Bring to a simmer on med heat and turn off the stove.
  11. Add chopped coriander / cilantro and lime juice and serve with rice or rotis.
5 Responses to “Dal Tadka / Easy Lentils Curry Punjabi Style”
  1. PoppyBhavan says:

    Dazzling DAL.

Check out what others are saying...
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  3. […] Punjabi Maa di Daal) needs just about the same time and effort as needed for a regular simple dal tadka and is not even that very different in terms of what goes into the dish? But it still gets slotted […]

  4. […] off the heat and serve with hot rice and yogurt or a simple dal/ rasam […]

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