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.
Lets Start Step by Step Dal Fry Recipe:
1: Boil the tuvar dal with a pinch of turmeric powder in a pressure cooker for a good 5-6 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.
2: In another pan, heat oil or ghee or unsalted butter. Add mustard seeds. Once they pop and start crackling, add cumin seeds and fry them. Then add the onions. Once the onions become transparent or lightly browned, then add ginger-garlic paste. When the raw smell of the ginger-garlic disappears, add curry leaves, red chilies, green chilies. I have used curry leaves as they give a very nice flavor to the dal.
Add all the spice powders – turmeric powder, red chili powder, asafoetida. Fry for some seconds. Now add the 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.
3: Add this fried mixture to the dal or add the mashed dal to the fried mixture.
4. Add some water and salt. stir and let the dal simmer for 3-4 minutes or till you get a smooth and slightly thick consistency.
5. Lastly add crushed kasoori methi/dry fenugreek leaves and simmer dal fry for a minute.
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.
Dal Fry recipe details below:
- 1 cup 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, slit or chopped
- 2-3 dry red chilies, kept whole
- 10-12 curry leaves
- ½ inch ginger + 3-4 garlic, 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 (if using a strong asafoetida, then just one pinch is enough)
- ½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
- ½ tsp red chili 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 for garnish
- 1 cup water or as required
- salt as required
- pressure cook 1 cup of the arhar dal with a pinch of turmeric in 2.5 or 3 cups
- mash the dal lightly with a wire whisk or with a spoon and keep aside.
- in another pan heat oil or ghee or unsalted butter.
- add the mustard and let them splutter.
- when you hear the spluttering sound of the mustard seeds, add the cumin and fry them.
- add the onions and fry till they become transparent or light brown.
- now add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for some seconds till their raw aroma disappears.
- add the green chilies, red chilies, curry leaves and stir.
- add all the spice powders – turmeric powder, red chili powder, asafoetida powder and fry for some seconds.
- add the tomatoes and cook till they soften, for about 2-3 mins.
- now add the mashed dal
- stir well.
- add water + salt.
- stir and simmer the dal for 3-4 minutes more or till you get a smooth and slightly thick consistency.
- dal fry is not thin and is usually has a medium to thick consistency.
- you can adjust the amount of water you want.
- keep the dal medium consistency if you prefer. making it thin will spoil the taste.
- 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.
- now you can garnish the dal fry with coriander leaves while serving or just add them to the dal and mix well.
- while serving top the dal fry with some ghee or butter if required.
- serve dal fry hot with steamed basmati rice, biryani rice, jeera rice or saffron pulao. dal fry also goes well with rotis or naan.