Arhar dal recipe – this is a lightly spiced and delicious Punjabi arhar dal fry made with pigeon pea lentils (toor dal or yellow lentils).
There are many ways of making dal or lentils and this recipe is one such method. The consistency of this delicious dal is not thin but a little towards the thicker side. This consistency makes the dal excellent to go with naan or tandoori rotis or parathas. This arhar dal also goes well with steamed rice or jeera rice.
To make this arhar dal – I have pressure cooked the dal and its really easy to cook these pigeon pea lentils or arhar dal in a pressure cooker. But you can cook the dal in a pot too. It takes about 45 mins to 1 hour for these lentils to cook in a pot. In the notes section of the recipe details, I have mentioned how to cook the dal in a pot.
The difference between this Punjabi arhar dal and other recipes is that whereas other recipes use oil or ghee…. This recipe makes use of a reasonably good amount of butter. Initially, butter or ghee is used for making the sauteed onion-tomato masala. Later also butter is added towards the final stage of cooking the dal. Some variations also add coriander powder, but I don’t.
In the tempering cloves and tej patta are also added. Tej patta leaves are commonly called as Indian bay leaves. But they are not related to the bay laurel leaves. Both have different taste and flavors. So please use tej patta in this toor dal recipe and not bay leaf. Tej patta has an aroma similar to that of cinnamon bark.
The lentils have to be really cooked very well and they should be of a consistency which is easily mashed. To know the consistency of the lentils and the way arhar dal is prepared, you can check the step by step pics of this popular Restaurant style dal fry.
More Dal recipes
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for pressure cooking arhar dal
- ½ cup arhar dal (tuvar dal or toor dal or pigeon pea lentils)
- ½ inch ginger - finely chopped or grated
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ cup chopped onions
- 1.5 to 1.75 cups water * check notes below on how to cook the lentils in a pot
- 2 tablespoons butter or ghee or oil - for the tempering
- ½ to 1 tablespoon butter or ghee to be added later - optional
- 1 medium tej patta (indian bay leaf) - optional
- 2 cloves
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 medium size tomato - chopped
- 1 green chili
- 3 to 4 small to medium sized garlic cloves - crushed
- ¼ cup chopped onions
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder or deghi mirch or kashmiri lal mirch powder
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder - optional
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) - crushed
- ½ teaspoon amchur powder (dry mango powder) or ¼ teaspoon lemon juice - optional
- few chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
- salt as required
cooking arhar dal
- Pick and rinse the lentils very well. Add the lentils along with water in the pressure cooker.
- Add finely chopped onion, ginger and turmeric powder.
- Stir and pressure cook for 8 to 9 whistles till the dal has become completely cooked and is of consistency which can be mashed easily.
- Mash the dal with a spoon or wired whisk. Keep the cooked dal aside.
- If the dal appears thick, then add some hot water and keep aside.
making arhar dal
- Heat oil in another pan. Add the tej patta, cloves and cumin seeds.
- First fry the cumin till browned. Then add the garlic and saute for 10 to 12 seconds.
- Add the chopped onion and fry till transparent or light brown.
- Add the green chilies and saute for some seconds.
- Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder and asafoetida.
- Stir and then add the tomatoes. Saute till the tomatoes become softened and you see oil leaving the sides of this base onion-tomato masala mixture.
- Lastly add the crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and saute for a few seconds.
- Pour this tempering in the cooked dal.
- Add 1 tbsp butter or ghee (optional) and salt. You can add some water here if required.
- Stir and simmer the arhar dal for 5 to 6 minutes or more till it reaches a slightly thick consistency. You can even keep medium consistency of the dal if you prefer.
- If you want a slight sour taste in the dal, then add a few drops of lemon juice or ½ tsp of amchur powder (dry mango powder) towards the end. If adding dry mango powder, then stir well and allow the arhar dal to simmer for 1 to 2 mins after adding it.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and serve the arhar dal hot with steamed basmati rice or jeera rice or naan or rotis accompanied with roasted papad and a pickle or salad by side.
- Rinse and soak the lentils for an hour. Drain and add them to a pot.
- Add 2 cups water, onion, turmeric and ginger.
- Add a few drops of oil as this reduces the frothing in the lentils.
- Stir and cover and cook the lentils.
- Bring to a boil and then simmer till the lentils are cooked really well. If too much water has evaporated, then add some more hot water and continue to cooking.
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