‘Easy going’ Tadka Dal !

Talking of comfort food….how do I describe a bowl of fragrant Basmati rice with warm and inviting Tadka Dal and the Crunchy Apple Pickle, …….especially after coming home, wet, damp and cold ? As an added bonus, this recipe is with the quick cooking masoor dal/ red lentils…so read on!

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Easy Going Tadka dal

It is pouring here today, which made me think of Tadka dal. This is a recipe for the most accommodating dal that I make. I use masoor dal as it cooks super-fast on the stove top. But you may use toor dal or mung dal for this recipe too.

This dal recipe is also very adaptable. I can cook 2 cups of the dal at a time and refrigerate or freeze half for use later in the week. I change the tadka, which means the tempering oil and spices and/or add spinach or methi leaves to the other half and in a few short minutes I have a new dal!

You know that I strive to make my recipes healthier without sacrificing the taste. For recipes such as these, more oil and or/ghee is used to caramelize the onions and fry the tomato. Instead I stir fry the onions until caramelized  and add ¼ cup water to soften the tomato after stir frying it . Honestly, I could do without the additional fat these days.

So for so many of the reasons I stated above, I call this my ‘Easy going’ Tadka dal

Easy going Tadka Dal

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients for Tadka Dal-

  • 1 cup masoor dal( red lentils) washed and drained
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Sea salt to taste

For the tempering-

  • 2 teaspoons  coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 slices of green Serrano pepper, or to taste
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • ½ plum tomato, finely diced
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Up to 1 cup water to thin the consistency of dal, according to your liking
  • Salt to adjust, if needed
  • Chopped cilantro/coriander leaves to serve

To make the Tadka Dal-

  1. Heat the dal, water, turmeric and sea salt in a saucepan, over medium heat. When it comes to a boil, lower the heat and let the dal cook for about 18 to 20 minutes or until completely cooked. The dal turns yellow and the individual split lentil can be easily mashed between your finger tips or between a plate and a spoon. Set aside. If you like a smooth textured dal, use a wire whisk to lightly whip it.
  2. In a separate pan, heat the  coconut oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and as they start to sizzle and sputter, add the chili peppers, garlic and onion. When they start to caramelize, add the tomato. Stir fry it and add the 1/4 cup water and let the tomato cook.
  3. Add the cooked dal, brown sugar and lime juice. Stir and add water, according to your desired dal consistency. Add salt, if needed and let the dal simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Top with the chopped cilantro/coriander leaves and serve with cooked Basmati rice and the Crunchy Apple Pickle.





27 thoughts on “‘Easy going’ Tadka Dal !

Add yours

  1. Sandhya, I love basmati rice and would enjoy your choices to accompany the entree, too. The crunchy apple pickles sound like what I would do with watermelon or other fruits which have a rind or tough part that softens as it pickles in the “solution.” I will check this post next 🙂
    Your Tadka Dal with water, tumeric and softening reminds me of how I use chick peas to make a paste or dip. Lentils are delicious in soup so I need to try them in this dish.
    Lastly, I dearly love how you use ingredients to caramelize in a pan to make a delicious sauce with tomatoes and spices. Onions, cumin, chili peppers, mustard seeds and garlic make it sound savory. I bet the house smells mouth-wateringly good!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Comfort food at its best Sandhya. Love the colors in that dahl and the picture and styling came out just superb! Additional lighting? Whatever you’re doing, keep it up because it is gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Loretta! It is raining cats and dogs here so relied on artificial lighting.Really appreciate the comment on my photography because I am trying to improve:)
      Looked for your post on reader yesterday and did not find it. I was about to go on your site now!


    2. Thank you Loretta. It is raining cats and dogs here, so had to rely on artificial lighting. My friend got me the copper kadhai from India so thanks to her for the styling:)I really appreciate the comment on my photography because I am trying to improve:)
      I was trying to find your post on the reader yesterday and was about to go on your site now….before I rush off to yoga:)


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