Tadka (tarka) Dal

Dal is such the constant in any Indian household. Typically eaten with chappati or roti, “dal roti” can be compared to “bread and butter” in terms of how much of a fundamental dish it is in Indian cuisine. The word “tadka” refers to cooking of whole spices or other ingredients such as onion or ginger in oil to flavour the dal. Every region of India has their own version of preparing the tadka for dal but all in all this recipe is so easy and quick to make. I think this is one of the first dishes I ever learnt to make actually. Made with a mix of moong and masoor dal, both are available in most supermarkets and all Asian grocery stores. With the weather turning cold, this dish is the perfect winter warmer! Check it out đŸ™‚

Serves 4

What we need:
1/2 cup masoor dal
1/2 cup moong dal
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of asafoetida powder
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 green birds-eye chilli (optional)
2 cloves garlic, grated
1″ ginger, grated
1-2 tsp salt (check according to taste)
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tin plum tomatoes
Handful fresh chopped coriander

How we do:

  • Wash dal and place in a pressure cooker. Add water so it is about 1″ above the dal. Add salt to taste and turmeric powder. Cook until 1st “whistle” goes off and turn off heat.
  • Whilst the dal is cooking heat oil and butter in a pan. Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds and asafoetida. When they begin to sizzle, add the onion and chilli.
  • Cook until slightly golden and add the garlic and ginger. Let it cook until slightly brown and add the salt, garam masala, turmeric powder and paprika.
  • Add the plum tomatoes. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes or until oil begins to separate from masala.
  • Once the dal is ready, remove from heat and  carefully release steam from pressure cooker and add it to the masala.
  • Mix the masala with the dal. Add the water and  stir well. Add the coriander. Check for salt and adjust accordingly.
  • If you think the dal is too thick you can add a little water at this point.
  • Bring dal to boil and you’re done! Best served with rice :)

7 thoughts on “Tadka (tarka) Dal

  1. Hi there. My name is Rick Entezari. I followed these simple instructions and before I knew it, something started to happen… Something of the delicious kind! Monica, you’re simply the best.

    Rick Entezari

  2. I like the results of this recipe. Sometimes I add a few extra molecules of chilli to make it spicier..Sometimes I add a cardomom pod to the rice to give an aomatice flavour to the rice molecules.

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