dal fry, restaurant style dal fry recipe, how to make dal fry recipe


Dal Fry Restaurant Style Recipe with step by step Photos – Dal Fry is another popular Indian dal or lentil recipe. Dal Fry is usually prepared with arhar dal also known as tur, toovar or yellow lentils or pigeon pea lentils. You can also use moong dal to make this recipe. Personally, I prefer arhar dal. This Dal Fry recipe tastes more like what is served in restaurants.

Both Dal Fry and Dal Tadka are two popular dal dishes served in Indian restaurants. There is a difference in the preparation of both Dal Fry and Dal Tadka. You can read the difference on this post – Difference between Dal Tadka & Dal Fry

Dal fry is not thin and usually has a medium to thick consistency. You can adjust the amount of water you want when you prepare it.

These two Dal recipes are also famous in the road side dhabas (roadside eateries) of India. But the dals served in the dhaba have a different taste. I had recently posted a dal recipe which is made in the dhaba style. I tried it first time and the results were too good. It almost tasted like the dhaba dal. Here is the link: Dhaba Style Dal. There are many ways of making dals and I will keep on posting the different ways of making them.

Step by Step Restaurant Style Dal Fry Recipe: 

1: Boil 1 cup tuvar dal (arhar dal/pigeon pea lentils) with a pinch of turmeric powder/haldi in a pressure cooker for a good 8-9 whistles or more till they are cooked completely.

Once the dal is cooked, then you mash the dal and keep aside. You can see the doneness of the dal and consistency in the below pic. The lentils are cooked till completely soft. There should be no separate grains visible.

boil the dal

2: In another pan, heat 2-3 tbsp oil or ghee or unsalted butter. Add ½ or ¾ tsp black mustard seeds/rai. Once they pop and start crackling, add 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera and fry them. Then add 1 medium sized finely chopped onion.

Once the onions become transparent or lightly browned, then add ginger-garlic paste (½ inch ginger + 3-4 garlic, crushed or made into a paste in a mortar & pestle).

When the raw smell of the ginger-garlic disappears, add 10-12 curry leaves, 2-3 dry red chilies, 1 or 2 green chilies. I have used curry leaves as they give a very nice flavor to the dal.

Add all the spice powders – ½ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp red chili powder, ¼ tsp asafoetida. Fry for some seconds. Now add 1 medium sized chopped tomatoes and fry them till they become soft. When the oil starts to leave the mixture, its an indication that the onion-tomatoes base mixture is cooked. You can also a pinch of garam masala powder to bring in more aroma and spice to the dal.

dal fry mixture

3: Add this fried mixture to the dal or add the mashed dal to the fried mixture.

adding dal to the fried mixture

4. Add 1 cup water and salt. stir and let the dal simmer for 3-4 minutes or till you get a smooth and slightly thick consistency.

dal fry

5. Lastly add 1 tsp crushed kasoori methi/dry fenugreek leaves and simmer dal fry for a minute.

garnish the dal fry

6: Garnish Dal Fry with corainder/cilantro leaves. Serve Dal Fry hot with parathas, rotis, jeera rice or plain steamed basmati rice accompanied with onion-tomato raita, papad, lime or mango pickle and onion salad or kachumber.

serve dal fry

If you are looking for more dal recipes then do check dal makhani, masoor dal, moong dal tadka, parsi dal, dal bukhara, gujarati dal and mah ki dal.

restaurant style dal fry recipe below:

4.8 from 29 reviews
dal fry - restaurant style dal fry recipe
dal fry - popular indian dal recipe made with pigeon pea lentils.
CUISINE: indian
INGREDIENTS (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)
  • 1 cup tuvar dal/arhar dal/pigeon pea lentils
  • 2.5 or 3 cups of water for pressure cooking the dal
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized tomato, chopped
  • 1 or 2 green chilies/hari mirch, slit or chopped
  • 2-3 dry red chilies, kept whole
  • 10-12 curry leaves/kadi patta
  • ½ inch ginger/adrak + 3-4 garlic/lahsun, crushed or made into a paste in a mortar & pestle
  • ½ or ¾ tsp black mustard seeds/rai
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida powder/hing (if using a strong asafoetida, then just one pinch is enough)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder/haldi
  • ½ tsp red chili powder/lal mirch powder
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves
  • 2-3 tbsp oil or ghee or unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 or 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves/dhania patta, for garnish
  • 1 cup water or as required
  • salt as required
  1. pressure cook 1 cup of the arhar dal with a pinch of turmeric in 2.5 or 3 cups
  2. water.
  3. mash the dal lightly with a wire whisk or with a spoon and keep aside.
  4. in another pan heat oil or ghee or unsalted butter. add the mustard and let them splutter.
  5. when you hear the spluttering sound of the mustard seeds, add the cumin and fry them.
  6. add the onions and fry till they become transparent or light brown.
  7. now add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for some seconds till their raw aroma disappears.
  8. add the green chilies, red chilies, curry leaves and stir.
  9. add all the spice powders - turmeric powder, red chili powder, asafoetida powder. and fry for some seconds.
  10. add the tomatoes and cook till they soften, for about 2-3 mins.
  11. now add the mashed dal. stir well. add water + salt.
  12. stir and simmer the dal for 3-4 minutes more or till you get a smooth and slightly thick consistency.
  13. dal fry is not thin and is usually has a medium to thick consistency.
  14. you can adjust the amount of water you want.
  15. keep the dal medium consistency if you prefer. making it thin will spoil the taste.
  16. lastly crush the kasuri methi on the palms of your hands and add them to the dal. simmer for a minute. switch off the fire. add lemon juice if you want, at this stage and stir well.
  17. now you can garnish the dal fry with coriander leaves while serving or just add them to the dal and mix well.
  18. while serving top the dal fry with some ghee or butter if required.
  19. serve dal fry hot with steamed basmati rice, biryani rice, jeera rice or saffron pulao. dal fry also goes well with rotis or naan.

{ 80 Responses }

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  1. Laveena says

    Hi Dassana,I tried this recipe yesterday nd it was very very tasty,nice to eat with simple brown rice nd this dal.God bless you for your hardwork..do you have any nonveg recipes?

  2. riya says

    Hats off to u!!!! u make life easier by posting such wonderful, easy, and delicious recipes. Thnx ma’am!!

  3. Nilesh sail says

    I searched on Google “How to prepare dal fry” and I found this link. Thanks Amit, for sharing this recipe. My friend liked the dal I prepared for the first time. This saved me today.

  4. Jane Crowley says

    Just returned from india and so missing the delicious food. This recipe is really great. I will add tho to my repertoire of excellent dines to make at home. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Miss Khan says

    dassana amit . Lovely recipe.. i really like your all recipes… AWESOME… I WANT THE RECIPE OF SOYA BEAN TIKKA OR CHAAP..

  6. Non-ABCD says

    Love it. I’m not indian but my lovely wife is from Bombay and she has given it rave reviews. The one thing is, when I use my pressure cooker (brought from India), the dal liquid goes flying everywhere with each whistle. Is there a way to minimize this?

    Thank you again and I hope you post some Sindhi recipes in the future so I can score even more points.

    • says

      it depend on the size of the pressure cooker. also how much water is added to the dal. generally i add about 2.5 to 3 cups of water for 1 cup of dal. if you add oil about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of oil to the dal, then the liquids don’t come out from the cooker.

  7. Pramod k says

    Awesome… Was looking this. It turned out the way I wanted… Thank u very much. Could you tell how to bring that charcoal smoke flavor to dal tadka just like resturant…

    • says

      thanks. to get the charcoal flavor, you will have to first burn the a small piece of charcoal till its red hot. then place it in a steel bowl. place this steel bowl with the charcoal in the dal. the dal has to be of a slight thick consistency, otherwise the steel bowl will immerse in it. sprinkle 1/2 tsp of ghee or oil on the red hot coal. then cover the dal and the bowl with a lid. let the smoke infuse for a few minutes. the longer you keep, the food gets a heavy smoking flavor, which is not advised. so just keep for 2 to 3 minutes and then remove the lid.

  8. muskaan says

    My friend make the recipe of fry dal and everyone like it. I will also try to make.
    Thank you so much.

  9. Abhishek Tripathi says

    Hey mam,

    thank you so much for this simple and delicious recipe. i tried as your post suggest. I can’t tell you how much i liked it. very tasty ……………

    Thanx from bottom of my heart

    keep doing this

  10. Sagar says

    Thank you!!! I just prepared dal it was just fantastic!! Please keep posting for new leaner’s like me…

  11. usha says

    Just tried ur dal fry….it’s out of the world. ..I’m such an awkward cook…This recipe made my hubby n children wonder if it’s ordered from the restaurant. …yeah…I’m so thrilled. ..Thank u so much…God bless you

  12. Anil says

    Tried the dal today and it turned out to be really good. Thanks for the recipe. Will be trying your bhindi recipe next . By the way do you have a dry Allo Mattar recipe also? Thanks.

  13. Muskan Ali says

    hey, this is the first time im making something which is this dal fry… but after making it, i noticed in the picture u used a different pan than mine so… does it make any difference, like in the taste or something?
    Loved the recipe though….

    • says

      thanks muskan. are you talking about the kadai. yes, there is a slight difference in the taste depending upon the kind of pan and which material the pan is made of.

  14. Aditi Parihar says

    Thank you…..love you…love you….meri life ki first dish jo mene bnayi aapki recepie dekhkar….nd I got sooooo many compliments…..

  15. says

    Hey Dassana!

    I tried your recipe, and it is superb. Highly recommend everyone to try this. I got nothing but compliments for this dish. And thank you for the no-pressure-cooker tips. Thank you!


  16. sanjivani says

    for preparation ghee is use this is of which brand .because the restaurant the smell is different. so kindly say the brand of restaurants using ghee.

  17. says

    No pressure cooker, but we soaked overnight and cooked till tender in a open pot.

    Mashing and such just does not get the same look as in your pictures. We put it in a blender for a little bit but not to long. (when cool, not when hot)

    It still is a bit chunky, ideas on what we can do to get it right?

    Four stars because of us not you… :)

    • says

      to get the mashable consistency, the lentils have to be cooked more. the recipe is not chunky at all. actually it also depends on the pigeon pea lentils one gets abroad. what i have heard, is that some of them are really tough to cook and take a lot of time. i would suggest to buy a good quality from a reliable brand. organic brands are much better.

      if you still have the blended lentils, gather all of it in a pan. add hot water and simmer on a low to medium flame with frequent stirs in a pot. cooking the soaked lentils in a pot should take approx 45 mins to 1 hour or more depending on the quality of the lentils. i would also suggest to make the same dal fry recipe with mung lentils as they are faster to cook as compared with pigeon pea lentils.

  18. says

    Hi! Excellent recipe, been combing the net for one I really liked and wanted!

    Question, do you know how to cook the dal without a pressure cooker? I’ve developed a lifelong phobia of that device, and I can’t use it. Thank you!

    • says

      just soak the dal for an hour or two. then drain and keep aside. in a pot, add water and turmeric powder. when the water comes to a boil, add the dal and cook in an open pan. the scum which is formed when cooking, can be just removed with a spoon. simmer till the dal is cooked and soft. for about 1 cup of dal, you can use 3-4 cups water. tuvar dal is the toughest to cook in a pot. the other dals cook pretty fast. depending on the quality of the tuvar dal, it should take about 40 minutes to an hour to cook.

  19. Magnus says

    Hello Dassana,

    I am so happy that I found your site. In 1981 I was in Jaipur for a couple of weeks. I lived in a sleeping hall with some ten other men in a cheap lodge near the railway station. Every morning, I had dal fry and chapatis at a very simple street-side restaurant nearby. That dal fry has haunted me ever since, and I have tried to cook it many times without success. I have even tried to find it at restaurants in south India at later visits to your country – to no avail. But now, thanks to your fantastic recipe, I have today had a meal that comes very close to how I remember the dal fry in Jaipur.

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I will browse your other ones as well.

    Best wishes from Stockholm, Sweden,


    • says

      Hello Magnus

      Thanks for this sweet comment.
      I am glad, finally you found the dal fry recipe you were looking for.
      You are can try other indian recipes as well.


      • Magnus says

        Hello again, Dassana,

        Yesterday I made your aloo palak. I couldn’t get any fresh spinach, so I used some fresh mangold instead. What a lovely recipe. Today, I am making dal fry again, plus aloo matar.

        Your blog is a gold-mine of vegetarian recipes for me!



  20. jyoti says

    another wonderful recipe dassana! tried it today & it was a big hit in my house! i consider dal as comfort food & ur recipes just do that…give me pleasure in eating! just a request….can u post Bread Upma recipe for me please….