100 gms arhar dal (tuvar dal or split pigeon pea lentils)
or 150 gms arhar dal
100 gms masoor dal (split pink lentils)
1 or 2 green chilies – chopped or slit lengthwise
1 medium sized onion – chopped
2 medium sized tomato – chopped
½ inch ginger – finely chopped or grated or about
⅓ to ½ teaspoon of grated or chopped ginger (optional)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 to 2 pinch garam masala powder
1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
2.5 cups water for pressure cooking
1 tsp crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
1 or 2 tbsp cream (optional)
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
1.5 tbsp ghee or butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
5 to 6 garlic cloves – finely chopped
½ tsp red chili powder
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves (cilantro leaves)
a small piece of charcoal
¼ teaspoon oil or ghee (clarified butter)
Method of making
Rinse the lentils and add them to the pressure cooker. The below pic shows only tuvar or arhar dal. You can also cook the lentils in a pot. Just soak the lentils for an hour or two before you cook them in a pot. Cooking the lentils in a pot, will take more time than cooking in the pressure cooker. Method on how to cook lentils in a pot is mentioned in the notes section of recipe details below
To the lentils, add chopped onions, tomato, green chilies, ginger.
Pour 2.5 cups water. If cooking in a pot, then about 4 to 4.5 cups water can be added.
Add turmeric powder and asafoetida. Stir well.
Pressure cook the lentils for about 7 to 8 whistles or more till they become soft and creamy. Mash the dal with a wired whisk or with a spoon and keep aside. If the dal looks thick, then add some water to get a medium consistency. Simmer the dal for 3 to 4 minutes. Pic of the consistency of the lentils in step 6
Once the desired consistency is reached, add cream (optional), garam masala powder, crushed kasuri methi, chopped coriander leaves and salt. Switch off the fire. Please note crushed kasuri methi can also be added in the tempering later and skipped at this step.
Mix well so that everything combines uniformly. Check salt before you add the tempering. If less than add more salt.
dhungar method (optional) for dal tadka
Next is the dhungar method of flavoring the dal with the smoky fumes of burnt charocal. For this with the help of tongs or on a grill pan like shown in the pic below, place the a small piece of charcoal. Burn the charcoal till it becomes red hot. Please use natural charcoal for this method.note that this is an optional step and you can proceed directly to the tempering method.
Place the red hot charcoal in a small steel bowl.
Pour about 1/4 tsp of oil or ghee on the charcoal. You will see fumes emanating as soon as you pour oil or ghee on the hot charcoal.
Place this bowl on the dal.
Cover the cooker or the pot with a lid and let the dal get infused with the charcoal smoke. Just keep for 1 to 2 minutes. The more you keep. The more smoky the dal will become. Remove the bowl carefully with the helps of tongs and cover the dal. Keep aside.
Making the tempering (tadka or chaunk)
Next heat oil or ghee or butter in a small pan. First add cumin seeds and crackle them. The cumin should get fried and not be raw but don’t burn them.
Now add red chilies, asafoetida and chopped garlic. Let the garlic brown and the red chilies change color.
Lastly add kasuri methi (add kasuri methi, if you have not added before to the dal) and red chili powder. Stir and switch off the stove. Make sure to fry the tempering ingredients at a low flame, so that you don’t burn them.
Pour the entire tempering along with the oil/ghee into the dal.
You can mix the dal or serve the dal tadka with the tempering on top it. Garnish it with coriander leaves. Serve dal tadka hot with steamed basmati rice, jeera rice or with rotis or phulkas.
Instead of oil you can temper the dal with ghee (clarified butter).
The dal tadka consistency is neither thick nor thin but medium. But if you prefer you can go for a slightly thick or thin dal consistency.
You can also soak the dal for 30 to 40 minutes before cooking.
A brief about Chef Avtar Singh Rana
Chef Avtar Singh Rana a passionate professional celebrity chef having more than 2 decades of experience. A chef who wears different hats, who ranges from the city Delhi is someone who loves interaction and discovery with a vision of always coming up with the best and true perfectionist at his work, he dwells in photography, traveling and of course food. He started his carrier with Taj Group of hotels, in the year 1998 and since then has only achieved milestones and growth immensely his hunger to learn and explore more got him travelling to the middle east, Oman, KSA , multiple times, where he worked for some of the iconic hotels. His talent also brought him recognition from Radisson, Starwood and Accor, where he was responsible for the preopening of the hotels.
An individual who leads by the examples and has the knack of grasping quickly and extend warm hospitality.
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