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Dal Fry: A Delicious Indian Lentil Dish

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Rozlin loves to cook delicious Indian meals for her family. She enjoys sharing some of her favorite recipes with her online readers.

Dal fry served with a tasty tempering

Dal fry served with a tasty tempering

Delicious Dal Fry

Dal fry is a popular Indian lentil recipe prepared by simmering cooked dal with fried tempering consisting of ghee, whole and ground spices, onions, tomatoes, and coriander leaves. Dal fry is commonly made with split pigeon peas (toor dal). Split pigeon peas are an incredible source of protein, carbohydrates, and dietary fibre needed for growth and development. Split pigeon peas are also a rich source of iron and calcium. This dish is enjoyed by children and adults alike—I hope you try it!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

20 min

30 min

3 servings

Ingredients

For the dal:

  • 100 grams split pigeon peas (toor dal), soaked
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 1/4 teaspoon oil
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (zeera)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
  • 5 to 6 curry leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • water, as needed
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red chilli powder, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, chopped

For the tempering:

  • 1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds (zeera)
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 2 dried red chillies

Instructions

  1. Pressure-cook the soaked split pigeon peas with salt, turmeric powder, and oil to 1 whistle. Lower the flame for another 7-8 minutes, and then switch off the flame. Let the pressure cooker cool down completely.
  2. Heat ghee in a cooking pot. Add cumin seeds, nigella seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves.
  3. When cumin seeds turn golden brown, add sliced onion and sauté until translucent.
  4. Add ginger-garlic paste. Sauté until the raw smell dissipates.
  5. Add chopped tomato, coriander powder, red chilli powder, and turmeric powder. Mix well. Sauté until oil separates.
  6. Add chopped green chilli and mix well.
  7. Open the pressure cooker and whisk the dal.
  8. Pour dal in the cooking pot and mix well. Bring it up to a boil over high flame and then cook for 5 minutes over low flame. Adjust the consistency by adding water, as per your preference. Switch off the flame. Add coriander leaves and set the dal aside.
  9. Prepare the tempering: Heat ghee in a pan and add cumin seeds, dried red chillies, and red chilli powder. Before adding red chilli powder, lower the flame so that it does not burn. After adding red chilli powder, immediately pour the tempering onto the dal. You can also pour the tempering directly into serving bowls, like I did.
  10. Enjoy this dal fry with zeera rice or ghee rice.

Photo Guide

Wash and soak split pigeon peas for 1 hour in clean water.

Wash and soak split pigeon peas for 1 hour in clean water.

Add turmeric powder, salt, and oil.

Add turmeric powder, salt, and oil.

Pressure-cook soaked split pigeon peas to 1 whistle. Lower the flame and cook for 7-8 minutes; then switch off the flame. Let the pressure cooker cool down completely.

Pressure-cook soaked split pigeon peas to 1 whistle. Lower the flame and cook for 7-8 minutes; then switch off the flame. Let the pressure cooker cool down completely.

Heat ghee in a cooking pot. Add cumin seeds, nigella seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves.

Heat ghee in a cooking pot. Add cumin seeds, nigella seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves.

When cumin seeds turn golden brown, add sliced onion and sauté until translucent.

When cumin seeds turn golden brown, add sliced onion and sauté until translucent.

Add ginger-garlic paste. Sauté until the raw smell dissipates.

Add ginger-garlic paste. Sauté until the raw smell dissipates.

Scroll to Continue

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Add chopped tomato, coriander powder, red chilli powder, and turmeric powder. Mix well.

Add chopped tomato, coriander powder, red chilli powder, and turmeric powder. Mix well.

Sauté until oil separates.

Sauté until oil separates.

Add chopped green chilli and mix well.

Add chopped green chilli and mix well.

Open the pressure cooker and whisk the dal.

Open the pressure cooker and whisk the dal.

Pour dal into the cooking pot.

Pour dal into the cooking pot.

Mix well.

Mix well.

Take it up to a boil over high flame.

Take it up to a boil over high flame.

Cook for 5 minutes over low flame. Adjust the consistency by adding water to your preference. Switch off the flame.

Cook for 5 minutes over low flame. Adjust the consistency by adding water to your preference. Switch off the flame.

Prepare the tempering: Heat the ghee and add cumin seeds and dried red chillies.

Prepare the tempering: Heat the ghee and add cumin seeds and dried red chillies.

Before adding red chilli powder, lower the flame so that it does not burn.

Before adding red chilli powder, lower the flame so that it does not burn.

After adding red chilli powder, immediately pour the tempering onto the dal.

After adding red chilli powder, immediately pour the tempering onto the dal.

Suggestions and Variations

  • Instead of split pigeon peas, you can use pink lentils (masoor dal) or green gram dal (moong dal).
  • Use leftover dal fry to make paratha.
  • You can add mustard seeds with cumin seeds and nigella seeds.

Split Pigeon Peas (Toor Dal)

© 2022 Rozlin

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