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Dal Tarka in a karahi bowl with a garnish of cilantro and red chili peppers
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5 from 4 votes

Dal Tadka

A Dal Tadka is a popular Indian restaurant dish. A blend of three lentils is seasoned with a tempering of a few simple spices, including dry red chilies, mustard seeds, turmeric and garlic, and the result is an aromatic and incredibly flavorful dal. Serve with rice. This is a vegan, soy-free, nut-free and gluten-free recipe.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Dal Tadka
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 118kcal


  • ½ cup tuvar dal (split pigeon peas)
  • ½ cup masoor dal (pink lentils)
  • ½ cup moong dal (split mung lentils)
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp asafetida or hing (optional)
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • 4 large cloves garlic, (crushed into a paste or finely minced)
  • 1 large tomato (finely diced)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp amchur or mango powder (this adds a special flavor, but if you absolutely don't have it, use 2 tbsp lemon juice)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro (or mint, minced)


  • Combine, wash and cook the lentils with the turmeric, preferably in a pressure cooker. If cooking on a stovetop, cover with an inch of water, bring to a boil, slap on a lid, keep on the lowest setting for the lentils to just simmer, and cook for 30-45 minutes or until the lentils are really soft and easily mushed up. Add more water during the cooking if necessary.
  • In a saucepan, heat the oil.
  • Add the mustard seeds, red chillies and asafetida.
  • When the mustard seeds crackle and sputter, add the garlic and stir-fry until the garlic browns. Don't let it burn-- stir constantly.
  • Add the tomato and cook for a few minutes or until the tomato breaks down.
  • Add the lentils and water, if needed. You want the dal to be runny but not too watery. This is a matter of personal preference, though, so if you like your dals thick, feel free to use less water. Keep in mind that dals do thicken on standing.
  • Bring the lentils to a boil and let them cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the sugar and salt and aamchur and stir to mix.
  • Add the cilantro, mix well, and turn off the heat.
  • Serve hot with rice or parathas or roti.


Calories: 118kcal | Carbohydrates: 19.9g | Protein: 7.4g | Fat: 1.5g | Potassium: 186mg | Fiber: 3.3g | Sugar: 2.1g | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 2mg