dal fry

Dal fry restaurant style recipe With video and step by step photos – dal fry is a popular Indian lentil recipe made with pigeon pea lentils, onions, tomatoes and spices. What you get after cooking the yellow lentils in an onion-tomato base is a delicious, creamy yellow lentils which is mildly spiced and slightly tangy to taste. 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 (pink or orange lentils) or moong dal (mung lentils) to make this recipe.

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dal fry 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 a 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.

Dal fry recipe video

How to make dal fry

Cooking lentils 

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.

dals for dal fry recipe

2. Then add the lentils in a pressure cooker. Also add a pinch of turmeric powder and 1.5 cups water.

cooking dals for dal fry recipe

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.

boiling dal for dal fry recipe

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).

butter for dal fry recipe

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.

cumin for dal fry recipe

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

onions for dal fry recipe

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

sauteing onions for dal fry recipe

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

ginger for dal fry recipe

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

sauteing ginger for dal fry recipe

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.

chillies for dal fry recipe

11. saute for a minute.

sauteing dal fry masala

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

spices for dal fry recipe

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

tomatoes for restaurant style dal fry

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.

sauteing tomatoes for dal fry recipe

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

add dal mixture

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

stir dal fry

17. Then pour 1 to 1.5 cups water. You can adjust the consistency by adding more or less water.

water for restaurant style dal fry

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

stir dal fry recipe

19. Then season with salt.

salt for dal fry recipe

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

simmer restaurant style dal fry

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.

kasuri methi for dal fry recipe

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

garam masala for dal fry recipe

23. Stir and simmer dal fry for a minute.

stir restaurant style dal fry

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.

coriander for restaurant style dal fry

25. Stir one last time.

restaurant style dal fry recipe, dal fry recipe

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 it with some more coriander leaves while serving.

serve dal fryMore Lentil recipes

STEP BY STEP PHOTOS ABOVEMany of my recipes have detailed step by step photos and useful tips to help you make it easily and perfectly.

Dal Fry

4.83 from 107 votes
This restaurant style dal fry is a popular Indian lentil recipe made with pigeon pea lentils, onion, tomatoes and spices.
dal fry recipe
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:10 mins
Total Time:25 mins
Course:main course
Servings (change the number to scale):4
(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
  • ½ inch ginger + 3 to 4 garlic 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
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 to 2 pinches asafoetida powder (hing) - if using a strong asafoetida, then just one pinch is enough
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons oil or unsalted butter or ghee (clarified butter)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon lemon juice, optional
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves (cilantro leaves) for garnish
  • 1 to 1.5 cups water or add as required
  • salt as required


cooking lentils

  • 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.
  • Then add the lentils in a pressure cooker. Also add a pinch of turmeric powder (haldi) and 1.5 cups water.
  • Pressure cook the lentils for 8-9 whistles on a medium flame till they are cooked completely.
  • Once the dal is cooked, then mash the dal lightly with a wired whisk or with a spoon and keep aside.

making dal fry

  • 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 and you see oil releasing from the sides.
  • Now add the mashed dal. Stir well. Add water + salt.
  • Stir and simmer the dal for 4-5 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. So 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. 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.
  • Now you can garnish it with some more coriander leaves while serving.
  • 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. It also goes well with rotis or naan.


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TRIED THIS RECIPE ?i would love to hear from you. if you have made this recipe then rate the recipe or leave a comment below. if you like this recipe then do share the recipe link on facebook, twitter & pinterest. for instagram mention @vegrecipesofindia or tag #vegrecipesofindia

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Dassana Amit

Dassana Amitnamaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

Comments are closed.

188 comments/reviews

  1. Awesome recipe. I tried it and my family loved it. Very tasty.4 stars

    • thanks a lot swati. glad to know and thanks for sharing this.

  2. I tried making it.It became super delicious.Thank you!

    • Welcome Nivedita

  3. Another awesome recipe.Turned out absolutely delicious.Loved it.5 stars

    • thanks winnie ????

  4. Absolutely delicious! Will certainly make this again, and add to my favourites 🙂5 stars

  5. Totally enjoyed this recipe.5 stars

    • thanks for the feedback.

  6. Very good recipe. I followed the recipe& it turned out great. Will be making it again as my family loved it. I served this dhal with tandoori roti.5 stars

    • thank you mina for this positive review on dal fry. glad to know. yes, dal fry tastes good with tandoori roti and even a phulka or paratha.

  7. Hi, I am a frequent visitor of your site. You have some of the best veg recipes.

    • thanks ann.

  8. If i want to serve 12 people.. do i triple the recipe ?

    • you can triple the recipe, but when adding hing, spice powders, kasuri methi please use the method of approximation or andaaz.

  9. Cooked dal fry yesterday and it was yummy 🙂5 stars

    • Thanks Dhivya

  10. Wow, I prepared dal fry yesterday and it was perfect… Thanks a ton Dassana…5 stars

    • Welcome Soumya

  11. its amazing yar….

  12. Hi .. is it okay to use the dhungar method here? Please reply asap5 stars

    • you can use.

  13. 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.5 stars

    • Welcome Minoo. Glad to know this. Thanks for sharing positive feedback on dal fry recipe.

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

    • Thanks Priti for your 5 star rating and positive words.

  15. 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.

  16. Excellent recipe. To add a bit of crunchiness I put cut up spinach leaves it was delicious! Thank you for sharing.5 stars

    • Welcome Olivia. Thanks for sharing the variation you did.

  17. 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 !5 stars

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

  18. Hi again

    As for the pressure cook – how can I translate the “whistles count” to time in minutes?

    • noam, pressure cook for 12 to 14 minutes on medium flame.

  19. Hi

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


    • yes total 0.5 cups of lentils. 1/2 cup of lentils usually serves 4.

  20. 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.

  21. Thank you.

    My father liked it a lot. You are super in representation​ and presentation.5 stars

    • Welcome Nanditha. Thanks for your positive feedback.

  22. seriously lost the count of chapatis my husband had. You are the best no doubt. I am a great fan of you.5 stars

    • Thanks Sumitha for your kind words and this awesome feedback.

      • 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 🙂5 stars

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

  23. Excellent recipe. It came out nice, though I din add garam masala and methi leaves. Thank you so much.4 stars

    • thanks ashikai for the feedback. nice to know.

  24. 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.5 stars

    • 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.