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Dal tadka in a bowl with parathas in the background. From the front.
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5 from 10 votes

tadka dal

Tadka dal is a deeply satisfying and flavourful dish that's sure to become a family favourite.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: dal tadka
Servings: 6
Calories: 249kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


The lentils

  • 1 cup toor dal
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 3 1/2 cups water

Dal tadka masala - the first flavour blast

  • 1 cup onion - diced
  • 2 tomatoes - chopped
  • 3 green chilies - diced (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste
  • 1 tsp kasoor methi
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

Final tempering - the second flavour blast

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • 4-5 red chilies
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 1 2 inch piece cinnamon bark


Cook the lentils

  • Combine the toor dal, turmeric, diced 1/2 onion and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer until the lentils disintegrate. This takes about an hour.

First tempering

  • While the lentils cook start your first tempering. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the onions and cook until they start to brown. Add the green chili and garlic ginger paste. Stir and cook another minute or so.
  • Push the onion mixture to the side of the pan. There should be some oil in the middle of the pan. If there isn't add a little more. Add the cumin powder, kasoor methi, salt and chili powder. Stir. Pay attention. You don't want your spices to burn. If it looks like the mixture is dry add a bit more oil. Cook for 30-45 seconds.
  • Add the tomatoes and stir to combine everything. Simmer until the tomatoes start to break down. Add a bit of water if it starts to get too dry.
  • Once the lentils have broken down add the first tempering to the lentils and stir to combine. Taste. Adjust salt as needed. You will probably need another half tsp or so. Simmer another 10-15 minutes.

Second tempering

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan (the same one as before if you've rinsed it out - why make more dishes) over medium low heat.
  • When the oil starts to shimmer add the black cardamom and cinnamon. Cook for about 30 seconds. Add the chilies and toast them quickly in the oil. Now add the mustard seed and cumin seed and cook for around 20-30 seconds. Watch the chilies. You don't want them to burn.
  • Transfer the tadka dal mixed with first tempering to a serving bowl. Drizzle the second tempering over top. Serve.


Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 506mg | Potassium: 290mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 770IU | Vitamin C: 54.5mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 2.1mg