Dal fry recipe with video and step by step photos. This simple dal fry is delicious, aromatic, healthy, comforting and can even be made by a novice cook. Dal refers to lentils and are a staple in most Indian homes to serve with steamed rice or roti. There are numerous ways a dal recipe can be made, dal fry is a basic dish that can be made with toor dal, moong dal, chana dal or even with mix dals.
To make this dal fry recipe, I have used toor dal also known as arhar dal in hindi, split pigeon peas in english. However it can be made using any dal of your choice.
You can serve this with plain regular rice, plain basmati rice, Jeera rice, ghee rice, roti or plain paratha, methi paratha, palak paratha. Papad, pickle, simple vegetable stir fry or a vegetable salad compliments the meal.
The ingredients that are used in a dal fry recipe vary depending on the region and personal choice. You can also check this moong dal recipe, which is made differently with different ingredients.
Using too many spices or too much of spice powders like garam masala, red chilli powder and coriander powder will diminish the original flavor of dal. So I prefer to use just a fair amount of them. I also prefer to add lemon juice to most of the lentil dishes before serving, just a personal choice. Skip it if you do not like it.
Video of Dal fry recipe
Dal fry recipe card below
- 1 cup toor dal / split pigeon peas (or ¾ cup toor dal + ¼ cup moong dal)
- 2 to 2 ¼ cups water (use more if cooking in pot)
- Salt as needed
- 1 ½ tbsps. ghee or oil or butter
- ¾ tsp cumin/ jeera
- ½ tsp mustard (optional)
- Generous pinch of hing / asafoetida
- 1 red chilli broken (optional)
- 1 to 2 green chilies slit or chopped
- 1 small to medium onion chopped finely
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 medium to large tomato chopped or pureed (optional)
- ¼ tsp turmeric/ haldi
- ¼ to ½ tsp red chili powder (use as desired)
- ¼ tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp crushed Kasuri methi / dried fenugreek leaves
- Handful of coriander leaves chopped finely
- Lemon juice as needed or ½ to ¾ tsp amchur powder (optional)
- Wash toor dal a few times until water runs clear.
- Add water to the pot or pressure cooker along with dal and cook on a medium heat for 2 whistles. If making in a pot add more water as needed and cook until soft and mushy.
- Heat a pan with ghee, oil or butter. Add mustard, cumin and red chili if using. When they begin to splutter, add hing.
- Add onions and green chilies. Saute until the onions turn golden.
- Add ginger garlic paste and fry until the raw smell goes off.
- Add tomatoes and salt. Saute on a medium flame until tomatoes turn soft.
- Add red chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder and turmeric.
- Saute for 2 mins till the masala begins to smell good.
- Add the cooked and mashed dal. Add water if needed to bring it to a consistency.
- Stir well and allow to cook until the dal begins to bubble well.
- This may take about 3 to 5 mins.
- When dal reaches the desired consistency, add kasuri methi and more salt if needed. If using amchur powder add it now.
- Stir and cook for a minute.
- Add coriander leaves and stir. Switch off the stove.
- If using lemon juice instead of amchur, then squeeze it before serving. Mix well.
- Serve dal fry with rice, roti or paratha.
How to make dal fry – step by step photos
1. Add 1 cup dal to a pressure cooker or pot and wash several times till the water runs clear. Add 2 to 2 ¼ cups water. If cooking in a pot you will need to add more water. I have used only toor dal this time, but an addition of moong dal adds taste and texture to the dish.
2. Pressure cook for 2 whistles on a medium heat. If cooking in pot cook until the dal turns mushy and soft. When the pressure comes down, open the lid mash the dal well.
3. Heat ghee and add mustard, cumin and red chili. When the spices begin to splutter, add hing. I forgot to add the red chili, it adds flavor.
4. Saute onions and green chilies until golden.
5. Add ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smell goes off.
6. Add chopped tomatoes and salt. Saute until the tomatoes turn mushy and soft.
7. Add turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala and coriander powder. You can add more red chili powder if you prefer.
8. Saute until this mixture smells good. It takes a minute or two.
9. Add cooked dal.
10. Stir well and allow to cook. If needed you can add more water to suit your liking.
11. When the dal begins to bubble well add kasuri methi. If needed add more salt. If using amchur you can add it now. Since I used lemon juice, I did not use amchur. Mix everything well. Cook for a minute.
12. Add coriander leaves and switch off. Mix well
13. Turn off the stove. Add lemon juice as desired just before serving. This is optional.
Serve dal fry with rice, papad, pickle or roti.