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a big bowl full of homestyle dal fry, with a bowl of rice, and a small bowl of green beans stir fry on the side.

Dal Fry Recipe (Dal Tadka)

An easy and homestyle dal fry / dal tadka recipe that makes for a simple yet comforting dal, which pairs equally well with rice or rotis (shared along with notes on making it in the Instant Pot or using the pot in pot option)
Course Beginner Recipes, Indian Curries, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 689kcal


For making the dal

  • ¼ cup toor dal (split yellow pigeon peas)
  • ¼ cup yellow moong dal (split and skinned green gram)
  • water *to pressure cook & boil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves

For making the tadka

  • 2 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds (rai)
  • 10 curry leaves (cadipatta)
  • 8 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 byadagi chilli
  • 1 teaspoon asafoetida powder (hing)
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes


Pressure Cook Dal

  • Take ¼ cup of toor dal and ¼ cup of yellow moong dal, and properly wash and rinse it, and strain away the excess water.
  • Pressure cook it with 3 times the water. I usually use my Instant Pot to boil dal, in which for a total ½ cup of dal, I use  cup water, and pressure cook on high for 12 minutes, and then let all the pressure release naturally from the pot.

Season & Cook the Dal

  • In a pot, add the boiled dal, and 1 cup of water* (see note #3) to thin out the dal a bit.
  • To it, add 1 teaspoon of salt & ¼ teaspoon of turmeric / haldi powder, and mix it in.
  • Cook the dal on medium flame, till it comes to a proper boil. This might take 5-10 minutes.

Make the Tadka (Tempering)

  • In a small pan, add 2 tablespoons of ghee, and lightly heat it up.
  • To the ghee, add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, and let it roast for about 30 seconds, before adding ½ teaspoon of mustard seeds, and lightly roast it for another 30 seconds or so, till it starts to flutter. Then add 10 curry leaves, and lightly roast it for 30 seconds.
  • Now add in the chopped garlic (from 8 cloves), and lightly roast it for about a minute or so, till it starts to change color.
  • Then add in 1 byadagi chilli (broken open in two), and 1 teaspoon hing / asafoetida powder, and lightly roast it for 30 seconds.
  • After which add in ½ cup of chopped onions, and saute till the onions turn translucent. It should take about 5 minutes or so.
  • Finally add in ¼ cup of chopped tomatoes, and saute for a couple of minutes, till the tomatoes cook down a bit, and then turn off the flame.

Add Tadka to the Dal

  • Add the tadka to the dal, which must have come to a proper boil now, and mix it in.
  • Finally, add ¼ cup of freshly chopped coriander leaves, and mix it in.
  • Dal Tadka is ready to serve with either steamed rice or roti / chapati.



  1. I used to make dal tadka using only toor dal. But these days I use a mix of toor and yellow moong dal, as moong dal is a little lighter on the stomach. You can go with any yellow dal of your choice.
  2. I love a good quantity of tadka in my dal tadka. If you prefer lesser tadka in your dal, you can half the quantity of tadka mentioned in the recipe, for the same quantity of dal.
  3. Adjust water in the dal based on your preference. I start with a relatively thinner consistency of dal, as it will thicken as it cooks, and I also add a good quantity of tadka. And I personally prefer a more flow-y dal. You can add lesser water if you prefer a thicker consistency of dal or add lesser amount of tadka.

Instant Pot Dal Tadka
  • Making Dal Tadka in Main Pot
  1. You can add the uncooked dal directly in the main pot of the Instant Pot, along with the water, and pressure cook it for 10 minutes on high. When the dal has been boiled, use a whisk to blend the dal chunks to get a smooth dal.
  2. Now add salt & turmeric powder, along with some fresh water to thin out the dal a bit (if required), and turn on the saute mode to bring it to a light boil.
  3. Make the tadka like you normally would, and add it to the dal, along with some fresh coriander leaves. Notes on this method
  1. This method is only best if you are making a big batch of dal tadka. And it’s efficient to pressure cook a bigger quantity of dal in the Instant Pot. Because otherwise you are not really saving time or utensils.
  2. That being said, an alternative is to first make the tadka in the main pot of the Instant Pot, then add the dal and water, and pressure cook it, and carry on with the other elements of this recipe. This will at-least save utensils by making it a one pot recipe. And is a reasonably good alternative, if you don’t want/prefer a fresh tadka added at the end.
  1. Pressure cook both the dal and the rice at the same time, by putting the dal in the main pot of the Instant Pot, and the rice in a container placed on a raised trivet in the main pot.
  2. When done, remove the rice, and continue with flavoring the dal and adding the tadka etc. Or like I shared earlier, make it a truly one pot dish, by making the tadka in the main pot of the Instant Pot, then adding the dal to it, and pressure cooking the dal & rice.

Please note: The nutrition values are best estimates provided as a courtesy. The exact values can vary depending on the exact ingredients or brands used. If you rely on them for your specific diet and/or health issues, please consult a registered dietician or nutritionist.


Calories: 689kcal | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 2475mg | Potassium: 565mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1281IU | Vitamin C: 286mg | Calcium: 210mg | Iron: 7mg