Khatti Dal | Hyderabadi Khatti Dal

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Khatti Dal is a perfect example of a dish which proves that Hyderabadi cuisine is much more than just biryanis and salans. The Khatti Dal recipe is one of the most popular vegetarian lentil dishes made from split pigeon peas or arhar/tuvar dal, not just in the city of its origin but also other neighboring states like Andhra Pradesh. I’ve got the easy recipe for you right here. Give this a try, it’s going to be a favorite of yours in no time!

khatti dal with the tempering mix on top in a wooden bowl.

What is Khatti Dal

The word khatti translates to ‘sour’ or ‘tangy‘ in English. So, the exact translation of Khatti Dal is ‘sour lentils‘ or ‘tangy lentils‘.

The dal is cooked first till the desired consistency and then tempered. The tamarind (imli) brings in the sourness and makes it a unique dish.

But don’t worry about the tangy taste as this Khatti Dal recipe is just as creamy, smooth and delicious as any other lentil recipe.

You may have to get accustomed and develop a taste for this dal, but trust me, once you do its only going to be a repeat in your diet.

Like many other lentil recipes, Khatti Dal is loaded with nutrition too as tuvar dal is a rich source of proteins, iron, B complex vitamins, fiber, folate and potassium.

I have cooked the lentils in a stovetop pressure cooker. But I do give the instructions on cooking them in a pan or pot in the notes section of the recipe card below. You could also opt to cook the lentils in an Instant Pot.

This makes it a hearty choice as well. You can enjoy this super easy to make Hyderabadi Khatti Dal with a plain steamed Basmati Rice, Jeera rice, Saffron Rice or Roti or Paratha.

This Khatti Dal recipe has been adapted from the cookbook Dastarkhan-e-Moghlai: 101 Easy to Cook Hyderabadi Recipes by Geeta Devi.

This book is a compendium of many traditional, rare as well as familiar vegetarian and non-vegetarian Hyderabadi delicacies. A must buy, and I totally recommend it to anyone and everyone who is a lover of this food repertoire or even otherwise.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Khatti Dal

Cook the Lentils

1. Rinse 1 cup arhar dal/tuvar dal (split pigeon peas) a couple of times in water and then drain all the water.

rinsing and draining arhar dal

2. In a 3 litre pressure cooker, add the rinsed tuvar dal and ½ cup chopped tomatoes or 1 medium-sized tomato, chopped.

rinsed arhar dal and chopped tomato in a pressure cooker

3. Next add 1 inch peeled ginger which is grated or finely chopped. Also, add 2 medium-sized garlic cloves that are grated or minced or crushed.

adding chopped ginger and chopped garlic

4. Also add a pinch of turmeric powder.

adding turmeric powder

5. Then pour 2.5 cups water.

adding water

6. Pressure cook the dal on medium heat for 7 to 8 whistles or more, or till the lentils are fully cooked and mushy.

pressure cooking dal

7. Meanwhile soak 1 tablespoon seedless tamarind in ½ cup hot water for 20 minutes.

soaking tamarind in water

8. Then squeeze the pulp from the tamarind directly into the same bowl in which tamarind was soaked.

squeezing tamarind pulp

9. When the pressure falls naturally in the cooker, then only open the lid.

pressure cooked arhar dal in cooker

10. Mash the dal with a madani, wooden spoon or hand blender till smooth.

mashing arhar dal till smooth

Make Khatti Dal

11. Strain the tamarind pulp and add to the dal.

adding strained tamarind pulp to dal

12. Stir and mix well.

stirring dal

13. Next add 2 to 3 chopped or slit green chilies and ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder.

adding green chilies and turmeric powder to dal

14. Also add ½ teaspoon red chili powder and 1 teaspoon coriander powder.

adding red chili powder and coriander powder

15. Mix very well.

mixing spices in the dal

16. Pour ¾ or 1 cup water or as needed.

adding more water to dal

17. Also add salt as required and stir to mix.

adding salt to dal

18. Keep the dal on a low heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or till the raw aroma of the tamarind goes away, the flavors have blended well and the dal has reached a medium consistency.

simmering dal

19. Cover and keep the cooked dal aside.

cover dal in pressure cooker

Prepare Tempering

20. Measure and keep all the ingredients ready for making tempering:

  • 12 to 15 curry leaves
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 6 to 8 small to medium-sized garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 dried red chilies – broken and seeds removed
ingredients for tempering

21. Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of ghee or oil in a small frying pan. Let the ghee melt on low heat.

heating ghee or oil in a pan

22. Add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and let the seeds crackle.

crackling cumin seeds

23. Then add 6 to 8 garlic cloves which are finely chopped.

adding finely chopped garlic

24. Fry chopped garlic for 4 to 5 seconds on low heat.

frying garlic

25. Then add 2 to 3 dried red chilies, 12 to 15 curry leaves and 1 pinch asafoetida (hing).

adding dried red chilies, curry leaves and asafoetida

26. Fry for some seconds on low heat, till the red chilies change their color and the curry leaves become crisp.

frying red chilies and curry leaves

27. Pour this entire tempering mixture over the dal.

pouring tempering over dal

28. Stir to combine.

stirring tempering into dal

29. Cover and keep aside the Khatti Dal for 5 to 6 minutes for the flavors to mingle.

cover and keep khatti dal

30. Serve Khatti Dal with steamed basmati rice, cumin rice, saffron rice or roti.

khatti dal served in a bowl with steamed rice, salad

Expert Tips

  1. Use lentils that are within their shelf life and fresh. Do not use aged lentils as they take a lot of time to cook and do not taste good.
  2. When you add the tempering to the dal, it should have the right consistency, that is, it should be medium to slightly thick. Remember that on cooling, the dal will become thicker.
  3. If the Khatti Dal becomes thick after its pressure cooked, then add some water to thin it. The consistency of the dal can always be adjusted by adding less or more water after its cooked.
  4. You can make a vegan version of this dal by using any neutral oil instead of ghee.

More Indian Lentil Recipes To Try!

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hyderabadi khatti dal recipe

Khatti Dal | Hyderabadi Khatti Dal

This Hyderabadi Khatti Dal is a tangy lentil preparation made with split pigeon peas or arhar/tuvar/tur dal with tomatoes, herbs, spices and tamarind.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Cuisine Hyderabadi, Indian
Course Main Course
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

Pressure cooking lentils

  • 1 cup tuvar dal (tur dal or arhar dal)
  • 2.5 cups water – for pressure cooking the lentils
  • ½ cup tomatoes – chopped or 1 medium-sized tomato
  • 1 inch ginger peeled and finely chopped or grated
  • 2 garlic cloves medium-sized, grated or crushed or minced
  • 1 pinch turmeric powder (ground turmeric)

Other ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon tamarind (seedless), soaked in ½ cup hot water for 20 minutes
  • 2 to 3 green chilies chopped or slit – add as required depending on the hotness of the chilies
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder (ground coriander)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • ¾ to 1 cup water to be added later or add as required
  • salt as required

For tempering

  • 3 to 4 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter) or oil
  • 2 to 3 dried red chilies – kept whole or broken and deseeded – add as required
  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves – small to medium-sized, finely chopped
  • 12 to 15 curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)

Instructions
 

Cooking the lentils

  • Rinse the lentils a few times in water.
  • In a 3 litre pressure cooker, cook the lentils with the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, turmeric powder, 2.5 cups water for 7-8 whistles or more till the lentils are tender and mushy.
  • When the pressure settles down naturally in the cooker, then only open the lid.
  • Mash the dal with a madani, wooden spoon or hand blender till fine and smooth.
  • Meanwhile when the dal is cooking, soak tamarind in hot water for 20 minutes.
  • Squeeze the pulp from the tamarind directly into its bowl of water.
  • Strain the tamarind pulp and add to the dal.
  • Also add the green chilies, turmeric, red chili powder and coriander powder. Stir in ¾ or 1 cup water along with salt.
  • Keep the dal on a low heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or till the raw aroma of the tamarind goes away, all the flavors have blended well and the dal has reached a medium consistency.
  • Cover and keep the cooked dal aside.

Making tempering

  • Heat ghee or oil in a small frying pan. Keep heat to a low. Crackle the cumin seeds first.
  • Then add the garlic and fry for 4 to 5 seconds on low heat. Add the dried red chilies, curry leaves and asafoetida.
  • On low heat fry till the red chilies change their color and the curry leaves become crisp.
  • Pour this entire tempering mixture over the khatti dal and stir to combine.
  • Cover and keep aside the dal for 5 to 6 minutes for the flavors to mingle.
  • Serve Hyderabadi Khatti Dal with steamed basmati rice, jeera rice, saffron rice or roti.

Notes

For cooking the lentils in a pot
  1. Rinse and soak the lentils for at least an hour.
  2. Boil 3 to 4 cups water with a pinch of turmeric. Add the drained lentils.
  3. Whilst cooking remove the scum with a spoon. Cook the lentils till the lentils have become soft and mushy. Add more hot water if required while cooking.
  4. Once the lentils are cooked, you can add the tomatoes, etc. and simmer till the tomatoes are cooked and then proceed with the recipe.

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Khatti Dal | Hyderabadi Khatti Dal
Amount Per Serving
Calories 184 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 29mg10%
Sodium 386mg17%
Potassium 281mg8%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 417IU8%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.1mg7%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.05mg3%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 35mg175%
Vitamin B6 0.1mg5%
Vitamin C 68mg82%
Vitamin E 0.2mg1%
Vitamin K 3µg3%
Calcium 58mg6%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 403µg101%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 32mg8%
Phosphorus 72mg7%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Khatti Dal from the archives first published in August 2013 has been republished and updated on December 2022.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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8 Comments

  1. hi..love this recipe..even tried it once successfully.Here in Mauritius, it’s very common n popular this dhal. However, wanted to try to cook urad dhal,but don’t know how to cook it and don’t have any recipe.I only know urad dhal is used for idli, is it? Please do send me a recipe or suggest any.Thanks a lot.5 stars

    1. you want to know about spilt-husked urad dal or whole urad dal. both are cooked differently. for whole urad dal you will have to soak for 6-7 hours. for the spilt-husked you can just cook it directly just like other dals. you can also soak for 30-40 mins if you want. whole urad dal is used in punjabi cuisine to make dal makhani. mah ki dal and dal bukhara. we also make a dal called as mah chole di dal with spilt urad dal.

      here are the recipes
      mah ki dal – https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/maa-ki-dal-kaali-dal/
      mah chole di dal https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/maa-chole-di-dal/
      dal makhani – https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/dal-makhani-punjabi-recipe-of-red-kidney-beans-and-whole-black-lentils/

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