Tadka Dal

by Kiran on October 14, 2014 · 51 comments

in How-To, Indian, Vegetarian

… which directly translates to tempered lentils, a must-have side dish almost a few times a week in our household. It’s so easy to make, there’s no excuse not to make it.

In fact, did I mention that tadka dal is packed with nutrients, protein and oh so delicious? See, no more excuses not to make it.

Tadka Dal | @KiranTarun http://kirantarun.com/food
If dal is something that you love having a few times a week, investing in a good pressure cooker will be a smart move. There’s no way to convince me of making dal otherwise.

I’m not about to waste 30 to 40 minutes everyday, stirring and boiling a pot of dal until its cooked to perfection. Rather, just let the pressure cooker do its thing.

Tadka Dal | @KiranTarun http://kirantarun.com/food
The only person that I’ve failed to coax into using pressure cooker is my mom. I’ve seen her slaving over pots of simmering lentils, day in day out. Till date, she still does it old school.

I have so much admiration for her unique ways, but why chip away so much time just over pots of lentils? Because dad loves it that way. Apparently, when it’s all about love between them, kitchen equipments take a backseat.

Wooden spoons, ancient cooking vessels and lots of stirring takes center stage. And trust me, it tastes the same using pressure cooker. Sorry mom!! 😀

Tadka Dal | @KiranTarun http://kirantarun.com/food

Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Still not convinced? Make it with pressure cooker and old school. Taste the results and let me know!

Serves 4


  • 1/3 cup arhar/toor dal (split pigeon pea lentils)
  • 1/4 cup masoor dal (split red lentils)
  • 1/8 tsp of hing (asafoetida)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2.5 cups water

For tadka (tempering)

  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 3 heaping tbsp red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 heaping tsp ginger, finely minced
  • 2 green chilies, slitted lengthwise
  • some fresh coriander for garnish


  1. *Pre-soak lentils for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  2. Wash lentils until water runs clear. Add lentils into pressure cooker with water, chopped tomato, turmeric powder, salt and asafoetida.
  3. **Pressure cook lentils until 3 whistles or follow the pressure cooker manufacturer instructions. After 3 whistles, remove pressure cooker from heat and set it aside.
  4. For tempering, heat a small nonstick skillet on medium. Once hot, add ghee.
  5. Sprinkle in cumin seeds and allow to sputter for a few seconds before adding finely chopped onions. Fry till translucent and fragrant.
  6. Add curry leaves, minced garlic+ginger and green chilies. Stir to combine and cook until everything softens and onions are lightly browned.
  7. Add tempered ingredients into cooked lentils. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  8. Best serve hot with chapatis or rice.

* Cooking time would vary if not using pressure cooker. Suggest pre-soaking lentils longer to help reduce cooking time.


Tadka Dal | @KiranTarun http://kirantarun.com/food
Off to (you’ve guessed it right!) make some tadka dal. Or at least let the pressure cooker do the most of it 😉 Have a great week!

Do you cook with pressure cooker? Or slave over hot pots?


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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sue/the view from great island October 14, 2014 at 11:21 AM

That last shot is a killer…and yes, you’ve convinced me to look into a pressure cooker, it’s one kitchen tool I don’t have!
sue/the view from great island recently posted..Oatmeal Brûlée


2 Kiran October 21, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Sue — awww, thank you so much. and yes, I’m glad you are convinced on a pressure cooker. it’s a must-have 🙂


3 Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ October 14, 2014 at 12:17 PM

I know I should own a pressure cooker. I will. Like you, I hate waiting and stirring for hours. I believe this is an essential kitchen tool. Just Today I ate a not very well cooked lentil/peas soup because I am not patient enough. Our mums are angels of patience 🙂
Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ recently posted..Chickpea and Cauliflower Veggie Burger (Vegan)


4 Kiran October 21, 2014 at 10:18 PM

Daniela — ditto about moms 😉


5 Tanvi@SinfullySpicy October 14, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Our any time comfort food!! Looks sooo good.
Tanvi@SinfullySpicy recently posted..Methi Aloo – Fenugreek Leaves With Potatoes


6 Kiran October 21, 2014 at 10:18 PM

Thanks Tanvi 🙂


7 Shibi@FlavzCorner October 14, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Beautiful snaps Kiran!!! Loved the pans used for serving. Where do you get all these beautiful props from? I can imagine your collection 🙂 Yes tadka dal is something that gets ready in a jiffy and pressure cooker is the time saver there.
Shibi@FlavzCorner recently posted..Homemade Chunky Apple Sauce With Cinnamon


8 Kiran October 21, 2014 at 10:21 PM

Shibi — thanks so much! i love visiting local antique stores, especially whenever I travel and these are some of my treasured possessions 🙂


9 Kitchen Belleicious October 14, 2014 at 8:06 PM

just look at that color. so vibrant and beautiful. No doubt this soup would win me over. it looks delicious
Kitchen Belleicious recently posted..3 Easy Kid-Friendly Halloween Recipes


10 Kiran October 21, 2014 at 10:25 PM

Thanks Jessica! 🙂


11 Rachael | Spache the Spatula October 14, 2014 at 8:40 PM

A pressure cooker is like the one kitchen gadget I don’t have! I totally need to get one!

This looks so comforting and perfect for this Fall weather!

And I’m loving those little pots and pans! SO cute!
Rachael | Spache the Spatula recently posted..My Pantry


12 Kiran October 21, 2014 at 10:29 PM

Rachael — you need to! go get it, now 😀


13 Laura (Tutti Dolci) October 14, 2014 at 8:42 PM

Oh, a bowl for comfort food – I love it! The skies are gray and it finally feels like fall – this is just what I need! 🙂
Laura (Tutti Dolci) recently posted..pumpkin spice biscuits


14 Kiran October 21, 2014 at 10:35 PM

Laura — total comfort food 🙂


15 Denise Browning@From Brazil To You October 14, 2014 at 8:49 PM

This lentil soup is the ideal dish for Autumn and Winter as well. I love its vivid color.
Denise Browning@From Brazil To You recently posted..Spicy Tomato Soup Shots with Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches


16 Kiran October 21, 2014 at 10:56 PM

Thanks Denise!


17 Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog October 15, 2014 at 12:03 AM

Wow, sounds absolutely delicious, and the photos are goooorgeous!
Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog recently posted..Chicken Enchilada Flatbread


18 Kiran October 21, 2014 at 10:57 PM

Thanks so much for visiting, Phi 🙂


19 Sylvie | Gourmande in the Kitchen October 15, 2014 at 2:23 AM

I slave over hot pots but only because I haven’t invested in a pressure cooker. Perhaps it’s time I give in!
Sylvie | Gourmande in the Kitchen recently posted..Roasted Acorn Squash with Chermoula Sauce


20 Kiran October 21, 2014 at 11:01 PM

Sylvie — oh yes, please? 🙂


21 rakhee@boxofspice October 15, 2014 at 4:58 AM

That’s comfort food at its best! Love the last picture…


22 Kiran October 21, 2014 at 11:01 PM

Thanks Rakhee 🙂


23 Jeanette | Jeanette's Healthy Living October 15, 2014 at 7:54 AM

I love dal but haven’t made it in way too long – love the idea of using the pressure cooker – you’ve inspired me to make dal very soon!
Jeanette | Jeanette’s Healthy Living recently posted..How To Roast Garlic


24 Kiran October 21, 2014 at 11:05 PM

Jeanette — thanks and please make some. soon 🙂


25 John@Kitchen Riffs October 15, 2014 at 12:06 PM

I really should get a pressure cooker for making dal and beans and things. It’d save tons of time. So I’d have more time to enjoy eating the dal I’d make! This looks great — love the pictures. Thanks.
John@Kitchen Riffs recently posted..Texas-Style Chili con Carne


26 Kiran October 21, 2014 at 11:10 PM

John — you really should! it pays for itself, in short term 🙂


27 honeywhatscooking October 15, 2014 at 1:00 PM

I love the last shot. I love tadka dal, I usually add dry red chilies instead of the green ones. Nicely done.
honeywhatscooking recently posted..Fashion Friday – 10.10.14


28 Kiran October 22, 2014 at 12:04 AM

Nisha — Thank you!! I usually add dried red chilies as well. Just thought to switch it up 🙂


29 Simi Jois October 15, 2014 at 2:07 PM

The last photograph of daal is to die for, spectacular. love it! the colors so vibrant and comforting.
Simi Jois recently posted..Mixed Lentil Curry


30 Kiran October 22, 2014 at 12:24 AM

Simi — aww, thank you 🙂


31 Arpita@ The Gastronomic Bong October 15, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Tadka dal is my favourite.. Love the flavours.. and stunning photos! 🙂
Arpita@ The Gastronomic Bong recently posted..Crispy Prawn Cakes in Steamed Folded Buns w/ Spicy Sriracha Mayo


32 Kiran October 22, 2014 at 12:26 AM

Arpita — thank you 🙂


33 Sugar et al. October 15, 2014 at 7:43 PM

So true about the pressure cooker Kiran. Can’t live without it! Beautiful photos..I want tadka dal for breakfast now. I am so pinning this!
Sugar et al. recently posted..Golden Apple Tart


34 Kiran October 22, 2014 at 12:32 AM

Sonali — thank you so much! and i love the chocolate lassi. so tempting 🙂


35 Angie@Angie's Recipes October 15, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Love my pressure cooker! This tempered lentil soup looks awesome, Kiran.
Angie@Angie’s Recipes recently posted..Pan Seared Tofu with Avocado Cashew Sauce


36 Angie@Angie's Recipes October 15, 2014 at 10:43 PM

What did you do to make photos smokey? You must teach us how to take those smokey looking picture like last click!
Angie@Angie’s Recipes recently posted..Pan Seared Tofu with Avocado Cashew Sauce


37 Angie@Angie's Recipes October 15, 2014 at 10:48 PM

I have used paintshop to filter the photo, but then the photo looked blurry, not smokey…LOL
Angie@Angie’s Recipes recently posted..Pan Seared Tofu with Avocado Cashew Sauce


38 Monet October 15, 2014 at 11:54 PM

We just had some dear friends move back to the States after five years in India. They convinced us that a pressure cooker was the way to go! This looks amazing!
Monet recently posted..Pear Butternut Squash Muffins


39 Choc Chip Uru October 16, 2014 at 6:47 AM

What a gorgeous colour in your dal! 😀
Delicious recipe and I love how it is a mix of dals in it!

Choc Chip Uru
Choc Chip Uru recently posted..Eat Drink Blog 2014: A Recap


40 Joanne October 16, 2014 at 8:49 AM

I suspect these are going to become a must-have side dish in my house also! LOVE dal.
Joanne recently posted..North Indian-Spiced Roasted Sweet Potatoes


41 Medha @ Whisk & Shout October 16, 2014 at 1:03 PM

I LOVE dal tadka! It’s a staple in my house too, and we’re all about the pressure cooker as well 🙂
Medha @ Whisk & Shout recently posted..Mediterranean Israeli Couscous Salad


42 Juliana October 16, 2014 at 3:50 PM

This soup sounds and looks delicious Kiran…perfect for the cold weather…beautiful shots as always.
Hope you are enjoying your week 😀


43 Asmita October 17, 2014 at 6:21 PM

Your dal looks amazing Kiran,
Perfect comfort food!
Asmita recently posted..Pear, Apple And Cranberry Crisp


44 sabine October 18, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Lentils are among my comfort foods, and I really love your version here. PS: I´m from the “slaving over my pots” fraction, to answer your question 😉


45 tasha hess October 18, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Hello, this looks lovely. I do not have asafoetida though. Will it be the same without it?


46 Tina @ Just Putzing Around the Kitchen October 18, 2014 at 5:14 PM

This looks fabulous! And I love you pictures 🙂


47 Sandhya October 19, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Pictures are beautiful Kiran. Where do you get those rustic pans and plates..


48 Nami | Just One Cookbook October 20, 2014 at 3:45 AM

I’ve been thinking about getting a pressure cooker but haven’t figured out which one to pick… if you have a recommendation, I’d love to know. 🙂 My mom used a pressure cooker but I am a bit scared by the sounds of pressure cooker releasing the air… so I was hesitant to even use it. Now I see lots of benefit as I don’t have time to stay around in the kitchen. 🙂 You always take beautiful pictures with gorgeous composition. So natural. 🙂
Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted..Popovers with Strawberry Butter & Giveaway


49 Raymund October 20, 2014 at 6:24 PM

This would go well with rice or freshly baked naan. Yum!
Raymund recently posted..Fish in Mushroom Cream Sauce


50 Lail | With A Spin October 21, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Dal is my comfort food. Your photos are stunning.
Lail | With A Spin recently posted..Fast and Fabulous Apricot Bites


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