Dal tadka (दाल तड़का) is one of the most popular Indian dishes. Not only famous in India, but dal tadka is also served worldwide. For those who don’t know, tadka means tempering & dal means lentil.
Husked & split pigeon pea lentils, aka toor dal (तूर दाल ) is used to make dal tadka. Even red lentils (husked & split) are a popular choice in making dal tadka. The best thing I like about these tempered lentils is the creamy & smokey flavor.
So, what exactly is dal tadka. Let’s find out.
What is Dal Tadka?
This recipe comes from the northern part of India. Boiled lentils, when tempered using cooking oil or ghee with herbs & spices, is dal tadka. I am not a fan of eating out though I love restaurant style तड़के वाली दाल. There’s a unique taste in it.
Depending on the taste, Indians love their tadke wali dal medium or mildly spicy. Most Indian restaurants serve this lentil dish hot & spicy.
The Importance of Tadka (Tempering)
Tadka, otherwise called छौंक is a Hindi word for a typical process of tempering. Now tempering here in India is an essential cooking technique adapted by every Indian household. Yeah, without tadka, the food is tasteless.
But why do we temper? What’s the need?
They are frying herbs & spices in hot cooking oil or ghee to release specific flavors. Additionally, it gives an aroma to the food. When tempered herbs & spices are mixed with boiled lentils or vegetables, you get an eccentric dish.
Tempering is an inevitable part of Indian food. Not only dal but a variety of curries are also made using this method. In short, tadka is mandatory if you are making an Indian dish. That’s the reason why Indian food is immensely admired across the globe.
Now that we know the in & out of dal tadka, let’s check out the ingredients.
Dal Tadka Ingredients
The list of items below is available in almost every grocery shop. There are no complex pre-preparations.
Pigeon Pea (Tuar Dal)
Pigeon pea is commonly known as tuar dal or toor dal in Hindi. We are making dal tadka in tuar dal. However, we can make the same in green, red & yellow lentils too. Authentic tadke wali dal is in pigeon peas.
Use water in the required quantity to boil. If dal is thick, then add little water. But tadka dal is usually thick instead of watery so keep this in mind.
Salt & Turmeric Powder
We will add turmeric powder along with salt while boiling the dal. You can always add them later on. Adding them beforehand will give a nice golden yellow color that will last long.
Oil or Butter?
Both. Yes, butter adds smoothness to the dish. Moreover, it also reduces the intensity of spices if you have accidentally added them. Add butter while tempering and not afterward. Cooking oil is a no-brainer. Use any brand.
Cumin, mustard, garlic, red chili & asafoetida are for preparing the tadka. Make sure all ingredients are dry.
Here we will be using red chili, garam masala & amchur powder. Dry mango powder is what we call amchur powder. A little tangy taste is good to tingle your taste buds. You can use lemon juice if amchur is not available.
Once all your ingredients are ready, it’s time to start making it. Follow the easy cooking steps below.
Tips to Make Dal Tadka
The cooking process is very easy. Typically there are 2 steps – Boiling & Tempering. That’s it.
Boil Lentils First
To hurry up the boiling process soak the toor dal for 4 to 6 hours. If possible use hot water to soak the lentils. Doing this will speed up the soaking & boiling later on.
Add salt & turmeric powder when boiling.
Tempering the Boiled Dal
Use butter along with cooking oil. Allow all the spices to release their oils, flavours & aroma. Make sure they don’t burn out. Try this chef style dal tadka and let me know how it was.
So, that was it with the dal tadka recipe today.