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

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dal fry restaurant style recipe with step by step photos – dal fry is another popular and delicious indian dal or lentil recipe. this dal fry recipe tastes more like what is served in restaurants.

dal fry is usually prepared with arhar dal also known as tur, toovar or yellow lentils or pigeon pea lentils. you can also use masoor dal or moong dal to make this recipe. both dal fry and dal tadka are two popular dal dishes served in indian restaurants. 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 fry. there are many ways of making dals and i will keep on posting the different ways of making them.

if you are looking for more dal recipes then do check dal makhani, masoor dal, chana dalmoong dal and dal palak recipe.

dal fry recipe video: 

quick 54 seconds video

restaurant style dal fry recipe below:

4.66 from 67 votes
dal fry recipe restaurant style
prep time
15 mins
cook time
10 mins
total time
25 mins

dal fry recipe - popular indian dal recipe made with pigeon pea lentils. this dal fry recipe gives a delicious restaurant style taste. 

course: main course
cuisine: indian
servings: 4
author: dassana amit
ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)
for pressure cooking the dal:
  • ½ cup tuvar dal (arhar dal, pigeon pea lentils) or half-half of tuvar dal and masoor dal
  • 1.5 cups water for pressure cooking the dal
other ingredients for dal fry:
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped or ⅓ cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 medium sized tomato, finely chopped or ⅓ cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 2 green chilies, slit or chopped
  • 2 to 3 dry red chilies, kept whole or halved and deseeded
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves (kadi patta)
  • ½ inch ginger (adrak) + 3 to 4 garlic (lahsun) crushed or made into a paste in a mortar & pestle or 1 to 1.5 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon black mustard seeds (rai)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 to 2 pinches asafoetida powder (hing) - if using a strong asafoetida, then just one pinch is enough
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (lal mirch powder)
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons oil or ghee or unsalted butter
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon lemon juice, optional
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves (dhania patta) for garnish
  • 1 to 1.5 cups water or add as required
  • salt as required
how to make recipe
pressure cooking lentils for making dal fry:
  1. take ½ cup tuvar dal (arhar dal or pigeon pea lentils) OR half-half of tuvar dal and masoor dal (pink or orange lentils).

  2.  rinse the lentils in water for a couple of times.

  3. then add the lentils in a pressure cooker. also add a pinch of turmeric powder (haldi) and 1.5 cups water.

  4. pressure cook the lentils for 8-9 whistles on a medium flame till they are cooked completely.

  5. once the dal is cooked, then mash the dal lightly with a wired whisk or with a spoon and keep aside.

making dal fry recipe:
  1. in another pan heat oil or ghee or unsalted butter. add the mustard and let them splutter.
  2. when you hear the spluttering sound of the mustard seeds, add the cumin and fry them.
  3. add the onions and fry till they become transparent or light brown.
  4. now add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for some seconds till their raw aroma disappears.
  5. add the green chilies, red chilies, curry leaves and stir.
  6. add all the spice powders - turmeric powder, red chili powder, asafoetida powder. and fry for some seconds.
  7. add the tomatoes and cook till they soften and you see oil releasing from the sides.
  8. now add the mashed dal. stir well. add water + salt.
  9. stir and simmer the dal for 4-5 minutes more or till you get a smooth and slightly thick consistency.
  10. dal fry is not thin and is usually has a medium to thick consistency. so you can adjust the amount of water you want.

  11. keep the dal medium consistency if you prefer. making it thin will spoil the taste.
  12. lastly crush the kasuri methi on the palms of your hands and add them to the dal. then add garam masala powder. simmer for a minute. switch off the fire and add chopped coriander leaves. add lemon juice if you want, at this stage and stir well.
  13. now you can garnish the dal fry with some more coriander leaves while serving.
  14. while serving top the dal fry with some ghee or butter if required.
  15. serve dal fry hot with steamed basmati rice, biryani rice, jeera rice or saffron pulao. dal fry also goes well with rotis or naan.

how to make dal fry recipe: 

pressure cooking lentils for dal fry:

1: take ½ cup tuvar dal (arhar dal or pigeon pea lentils) or half-half of tuvar dal and masoor dal (pink or orange lentils). rinse the lentils in water for a couple of times.

2. then add the lentils in a pressure cooker. also add a pinch of turmeric powder (haldi) and 1.5 cups water.

3. pressure cook the lentils for 8-9 whistles on a medium flame 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.

making dal fry:

4: in another pan, heat 2-3 tablespoon oil or ghee or unsalted butter. add ½ or ¾ tsp black mustard seeds (rai).

5. once the mustard seeds start crackling, then add 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera and saute them for some seconds till they change color and crackle.

6. then add 1 medium sized chopped onion, about ⅓ cup chopped onions.

7. saute till the onions become translucent or lightly browned.

8. then add ginger-garlic paste (½ inch ginger + 3-4 garlic, crushed or made into a paste in a mortar & pestle).

9. saute till the raw smell of the ginger-garlic disappears.

10. add 10-12 curry leaves, 2-3 dry red chilies, 1 or 2 green chilies. i have added curry leaves as they give a very nice flavor to the dal.

11. saute for a minute.

12. now add all the spice powders – ½ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp red chili powder, 1 to 2 pinches of asafoetida. stir.

13. now add 1 medium sized chopped tomatoes (about ⅓ cup finely chopped tomatoes).

14. stir and saute till the tomatoes become soft and pulpy. the oil should also start to leave the masala mixture. this an indication that the onion-tomatoes base mixture is cooked.

15. add this fried mixture to the dal or add the mashed dal to the fried mixture.

16. stir the dal well with rest of the masala mixture.

17. then pour 1 to 1.5 cups water. you can adjust the consistency of the dal fry by adding more or less water.

18. stir very well to get a  smooth & even consistency.

19. then season with salt.

20. stir and simmer the dal fry for 5 to 6 minutes on a low to medium flame.

21. lastly add 1 tsp crushed kasoori methi/dry fenugreek leaves. you can also substitute kasoori methi with a pinch of fenugreek seeds powder. if you don’t have either, then just skip.

22. then sprinkle ¼ to ½ tsp garam masala. if using homemade and a strong garam masala, then you can add ¼ tsp.

23. stir and simmer dal fry for a minute.

24. switch off the flame and lastly add 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves. you can also add ½ to 1 tsp lemon juice towards the end if you prefer.

25. stir one last time.

26. serve dal fry hot with parathas, rotis, jeera rice or plain steamed basmati rice accompanied with onion-tomato raita, papad, lime/lemon slices or mango pickle or onion salad or kachumber. you can also garnish dal fry with some more coriander leaves while serving.

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This post was last modified on May 11, 2018, 2:51 pm

    Categories Dal RecipesDinner RecipesLow Fat RecipesNorth Indian RecipesPopular Indian RecipesVegan Recipes

View Comments (175)

  • 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.

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

  • 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?

    • thanks laveena for your positive feedback and for your prayers. i only cook vegetarian recipes at home.

  • Wonderful recipe! For anyone using an electric pressure cooker, 2.5 cups of water to 1 cup of dal for 6 minutes (plus 10-minute release) seems to work well.

  • Thank you so much for this recipe, I am the biggest dahl lover and have tried many recipes- this is the BEST!!! Thank you again for sharing

  • Thanks for this awesome recipe. So flavourful. Once made this for my folks and my mum has now switched from her usual dal recipe and made this her staple one now. Super tasty!

  • I made this for my husband yesterday who usually likes non veg dishes more, but this just tasted awesome & he loved it. I made it with jeera rice.
    Thank you so much for sharing the wonderful recup. .

  • Been stuck in this hotel room for a week now...was craving for some Indian food..tried your recipe and loved it..i had it with rice and also tried your other recipe for potato roast...was very satisfying..thank you..

  • I tried the dal fry recipe from several websites... But nothing ever turned out to be as perfect as this one...

    I always like to try new ways of cooking a particular dal or vegetable as cooking it same way all the time gets so boring... However.. sometimes the experiment goes wrong and I wish I had cooked it just like I always do..With your blog.. I can try the new way of cooking something without worrying about the outcome as nothing has ever gone wrong....

    I cannot thank you enough for all the recipes...

    Thank you :)

    • 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 takes longer time to cook than other dals. depending on the quality of the tuvar dal, it should take about 40 minutes to an hour to cook.

  • Its been many years since I have been looking for this Dal Fry recipe. So long that I have forgotten when I last tasted it. Anyways, it came out awesome. I have high cholesterol so I went with about 1tbsp of ghee :) And only one red and one green chilli. Many thanks for posting this.

  • Love the flavor of this recipe. It's so aromatic and delicious! Thank you for the recipe.

    • sandeepta, i do not make soyabean chunks or granules recipe as i do not use them. i have read that they are made with low grade ingredients, which are not healthy. i am not getting the link where i read. otherwise i would have shared with you.

  • Finally found the recipe for dal fry which i love in restaurants ! Thank u soo much dassana ? all ur recipes are highly recommended ?

  • Hi Dasanna
    Usually I am not fond of dal I wanted to prepare in a tasty way so I tried your dal fry recipe and I had it all alone ? So yummy

  • hi, i love your recipes. thanks a lot. you are my saviour. i have never cooked earlier but now i can cook and get appreciation

    • most of the gravies and dals become thick. they even become thick at room temperature. i do not know the scientific reason as to exactly what happens with the food molecules, but the cool temperature does thicken the dal.

      • Dal when it cools down becomes thick because the starches present in the dal stiffen up. Also the protein strands change with heating and cooling, making a thicker texture.
        This is a very unscientific description of the food science, but if you google it you can see more detailed explanations.

        I must say I love the recipes on your site and I visit often.

        • SS, thanks a lot for this info. i will search in google for a more detailed explanation. also thanks for the feedback on the recipe. happy cooking.

  • I have about 5 vegetarian Indian cookbooks, and although I adore two of them, your food is always my favourite. I've cooked your recipes about 15 times now since I promised myself I'd get some basic skills in Indian cookery, and I've enjoyed them every time. Thank you for your effort with this site and I wish you had a book I could buy.

    • Welcome Lucy. Thanks a lot for this positive feedback on recipes. We don't have a plan to make the book right now. But may be in future.

  • Your recipes are a blessing. Have tried so many of them and all have come out to be absolutely delicious dishes, earning me appreciation each time ?
    Thank you so so much. God bless.

  • I made this for my husband last night who is from South India. He took it to the table and quickly ran back in to the kitchen with a shocked look, "This is too good!". He loved it so much, as did I. He now wants me to cook it again. Thank you :)

  • Hi, thank you for another awesome recipe. Just a heads up, the amount of garam masala needed is missing in the written list of ingredients but I found it in the captions under your pictures.Thanks for this phenomenal tutorial. Your website is the best at breaking down recipes step by step.

    • Welcome Cj. Glad to know that you liked the dal fry recipe. Thanks for your appreciation and also for mentioning about the garam masala. I have mentioned the garam masala in ingredient list also.

  • seriously lost the count of chapatis my husband had. You are the best no doubt. I am a great fan of you.

      • Coz she herself was busy feasting. Thanks for the wonderful work. Sumi turned out a master chef. Credits to you. You guessed it rt. Am her hubby :-)

        • thank you sri. isn't it great when your partner (be if wife or husband) cooks good food. it definitely helps ?

  • Hello Ma'am
    Your recipes are too good and easy to follow... As a fresher in cooking your recipes have helped me a lot... Thank you so Much...
    The dal fry came out really well . All my family members loved it a lot.

    • Welcome Silpa. Glad to know that everyone liked the dal fry recipe. Thanks for your positive feedback on recipes.

  • Hi

    Thanks for this recipe. Do u use total 0.5 cup on lentils in this recipe?


  • Hi again

    As for the pressure cook - how can I translate the "whistles count" to time in minutes?

  • Hi Dassana,
    I tried this recipe for our office potluck lunch and it was a great hit among my friends. Thank you for all the effort you take in giving detailed recipes....especially the pictures. Due to this, the recipes that I try turn out almost exactly as shown on the website.
    Whenever I have some item in my fridge or I want to try something new, I look up recipes on your website.
    I used alphonso mangoes to make mango ice cream two weeks back. Now off to make mango kesari :)
    Hats off Dassana and keep up the good work !

    • welcome estee. thanks for your positive feedback on dal fry. glad to know that you like the website.

  • Excellent recipe. To add a bit of crunchiness I put cut up spinach leaves it was delicious! Thank you for sharing.

  • I made your dhal it was lovely please I would like a chicken biriyani recipe thanks Lenny

    • Welcome Lenny. We only share vegetarian recipes on the blog. So won't be able to share the recipe requested.

  • All your receipes deserve 5 star rating. If everyone starts following your receipes then hotels will have a tough time..

  • Amazing recipe. Tastes like authentic dhaba style dal. Thanks for putting up these recipes Dassana. Your site is my number one go-to resource for the most consistently delicious recipes.

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