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Dal Tadka is a simple, easy, and quick Indian staple food. This generally means Indian lentil soup with lovely tempering of spices (Tadka). You can make this dal tadka with only toor dal or yellow pigeon pea lentils or by mixing with other lentils too. But toor dal is the main ingredient being taken in large quantity.
Dhaba Restaurant Style Dal Tadka (Toor Dal Recipe)
Dal tadka is a staple food which is served with roti and rice both. Dal is an authentic and traditional Indian food, made with varieties of lentils. Here is a simple and authentic dhaba style Punjabi dal tadka.
Dal tadka what we make at home is little different than what we get from dhaba or restaurants. I make dal very often and it’s a part of our daily routine, in lunch and in dinner both.
But if you will eat the same thing daily it’s quite boring. So I do change varieties and way of making as it has great impact on the final result.
What is Dal Tadka?
Dal tadka is nothing other than lentil soup with a special tempering which makes it flavourful. Dal or lentils are high protein food and hence healthy for our body.
You should include dal in your every day diet. There are different varieties of lentils available worldwide.
This is one of the staple food of India. Along with varieties of lentils available in the market, there are numerous recipes you can develop with this superfood.
But for everyday food dal tadka or plain dal fry is one of the best food. Even we give our toddlers this lentil soup without the tempering of course.
What is Tadka (Indian Tempering)?
Tadka is the main part, that brings in or enhances the flavors in the dal. Normally the toor dal or mixed dal is boiled with salt and turmeric powder. After that this dal is tempered twice for extra flavor.
In the first tempering, we are using tomato, garlic, onion, coriander powder, chili powder, and hing. Then add dal and simmer for a minute.
Next before serving, add second tempering with ghee (clarified butter), hing, garlic, cumin seeds, and red chili. And this tempering adds so much flavor to the dal.
Add ghee, hing and garlic generously as these three ingredients are real taste enhancer in case of dal tadka.
Dal Tadka which we get in dhaba or restaurants is made with a mixture of toor dal (pigeon pea lentils), moong dal (yellow moong bean or dehusked green gram lentils), and masoor dal (Red lentils). Sometimes chana dal (Bengal gram lentils) is mixed for a thicker consistency. Basically, it’s a combination of these three types of dal.
This is a popular dish in the Northern part of India, especially in dhaba or roadside restaurants, you will get the best of the dal tadka.
The ratio of lentils in the dal tadka (mixed lentils) should be:
Toor dal 3 parts, moong dal 2 parts, and masoor dal 1 part. So if you are taking 3/4 cup toor dal, add 1/2 cup moong dal, 1/4 cup masoor dal. Adding moong and masoor enhances the consistency and taste of the dal or lentil soup.
As the name says basically it’s the tempering that adds in flavor and makes the plain toor dal (split pigeon pea lentils) aromatic and delicious.
How to use leftover dal?
If you have leftover dal and you don’t want to take this as it is, add tamarind paste and sambar masala spice and serve as a side for idli and dosa. The second thing I do with my leftover dal is to add wheat flour (atta) to make dal paratha. This is an easier way to make kids eat dal who doesn’t like to eat dal as dal.
How To Make Dal Tadka Restaurant / Dhaba Style?
To make this restaurant-style dal tadka, make a mixture of toor dal, moong dal and masoor dal in said proportion (3:2:1). Pressure cook with salt, turmeric and water for 5 – 7 minutes or till dal is cooked well (appx 4 – 5 whistles).
Then heat ghee/ oil in a pan. Add chopped ginger, garlic, onions, green chillies and saute till translucent.
Then add tomato chopped and again saute till it’s cooked and soft. Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, and mix well.
Then pour in boiled lentils to the tadka. Check salt and add if required. Also, add in some water if it’s very thick to bring in the desired consistency.
Now prepare another tempering with jeera and hing. Hing or asafoetida plays an important role in Indian dal recipe as it adds that extra punch of flavour to the dal.
Take a small tadka pan. Heat some more ghee or clarified butter. Add cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, hing to the pan, and keep it on low flame. Add in some dry red chilies.
After a minute, or once cumin crackled completely and garlic is a little brown, pour in the tempering to the dal and immediately cover with a lid. This will help in the absorption of all aromatic spices into our prepared Dal Tadka.
Double tempering in dhaba style dal tadka
Two temperings or tadka is very much essential if you want dhaba like flavour of this Punjabi dhaba style dal tadka. And if you don’t want to give two tadka or tempering, then in the first tadka, add in cumin seeds first before adding ginger garlic, and onions.
Also remember hing (asafoetida) is an integral and necessary part of any dal or dal tadka. In market to get a good quality hing is a tough job infact with lots of adulterated spices. I use one that I get from my native in UP. The aroma will tell you it’s quality. Just a pinch is enough..
Recipe Card For Dal Tadka (Dhaba Style)
Dhaba Style Dal Tadka
- 3/4 cup toor dal
- 1/2 cup moong dal
- 1/4 cup masoor dal
- 1 onion
- 1 tomato
- 8-10 garlic pods finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp ginger finely chopped
- 2 green chillies finely chopped
- 2 dry red chillies
- 2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp hing
- 1 tsp salt or as per taste
- 3 tbsp coriander leaves finely chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 – 5 tbsp ghee
- Wash dal 2 – 3 times and put in a pressure cooker.
- Add 2 cup water to it. Add salt and turmeric powder.
- Pressure cook for 4 – 5 whistles.
- Open lid of cooker when pressure released on it’s own.
- Whisk the dal to check if it’s cooked completely.
- Heat a pan. Add ghee to it.
- Add in chopped ginger, garlic, green leaves and saute for a minute.
- Then add chopped onions and cook till translucent.
- Then add tomatoes and cook till soft.
- Add red chilli powder and mix well.
- Pour in cooked dal to the pan. Give it a nice stir.
- Simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off heat.
- Take a small tadka pan. Heat ghee.
- Once ghee is hot add cumin seeds, hing. Let them crackle on low flame.
- Add dry red chilli, ginger garlic into pan and saute for a minute.
- Immediately transfer tempering to the dal. Cover with a lid.
- Leave it for 2 – 3 minutes.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and squeeze 1 lemon juice.
- Serve hot with roti or paratha.
Here I would request you to read other similar posts like mushroom matar masala, paneer tikka masala, gatte ki sabzi, palak paneer. Also read matar paneer curry, dum aloo, bagara baingan, lauki kofta curry, malai kofta curry, shaam savera curry.
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