Dal Tadka (Yellow Dal) Recipe (with Step by Step Photos)

Though there are many simple and best curries and dals in Punjabi cuisine, nothing beats the simplicity and appeal of dal tadka, a yellow dal generously garnished with tadka (tempering) of garlic, dry red chilli and cumin seeds. Its rich and appetizing flavor profile makes it suitable to be served with array of Indian flat breads and makes a healthy meal. It is the cooking process which makes it so unique and irresistible. Generally in any dal recipe, tempering is prepared first and then cooked dal is added to it but not in this recipe; here pressure-cooked dal is first mixed with sautéed ginger, garlic, green chilli and onion and then ghee tempered garlic and spices are poured over it at the time of serving.

Yellow Dal with Tadka

1/2 cup Toor Dal (arhar dal)
1/4 cup Chana Dal (Bengal gram)
1/4 cup Masoor Dal (red lentils)
1 medium Onion, sliced
1 tablespoon crushed Ginger-Garlic
1 Green Chilli, finely chopped
1 Tomato, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
2½ cups + 1 cup Water
2 teaspoons Ghee or Oil
2 tablespoons chopped Coriander Leaves, for garnishing
For Tempering:
1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
2 cloves of Garlic, chopped (optional)
1 Dry Red Chilli, broken into two pieces
A pinch of Asafoetida (hing)
2 teaspoons Ghee


  1. step-1
    Rinse toor dal, chana dal and masoor dal in water and add them into 3-5 liter capacity steel or aluminum pressure cooker. Add 2-cups water and salt and pressure cook for 4-whistles over medium flame. Turn off flame and allow the pressure to release naturally. Open the lid and keep the cooked dal aside.
  2. step-2
    Heat 2-teaspoons ghee/oil in a pan. Add sliced onion and sauté until it turns light brown. Add crushed ginger-garlic and chopped green chilli and sauté for 30-40 seconds. Make sure, garlic does not turn dark brown.
  3. step-3
    Add chopped tomato and sauté until it turns soft.
  4. step-4
    Add and mix turmeric powder and red chilli powder.
  5. step-5
    Add cooked dal and mix well.
  6. step-6
    Add 1-cup water and stir to mix. Taste for the seasoning and add salt accordingly.
  7. step-7
    Cook on medium flame until you get the desired consistency of dal or for approx. 5-6 minutes, stir multiple times in-between. Remove it from flame and transfer into a large serving bowl.
  8. step-8
    Prepare the tempering by heating 2-teaspoons ghee in a small pan. Add cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle. Add chopped garlic, dry red chillies and asafoetida, mix well and allow garlic to turn light brown.
  9. step-9
    Remove pan from flame and pour prepared tempering over cooked dal in a serving bowl. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with steamed rice.
Tips and Variations:

  • Out of moong dal, chana dal, masoor dal and toovar dal, you can take any one dal or any combination of it in this recipe. However, make sure that their total quantity is 1 cup.
  • Ghee is used for a nice flavor and this is what makes it so popular. However, you can also use butter or oil as its replacement.
  • Soak dals in water for 30 minutes before pressure-cooking for faster cooking.
Taste:  Mild spicy with appetizing flavor of garlic and ghee
Serving Ideas:  Punjabi yellow dal with lasooni tadka tastes delicious and stomach filling when served with steamed rice, jeera rice or Indian breads like paratha, tandoori roti or naan as a full meal. A glass of lassi and papad goes a long way in improving its taste.

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Mar 22, 2018 by Subha
Best website to cook North Indian dishes..

Apr 15, 2016 by Ken
What does "pressure cook for 4 whistles" mean? Thanks in advance.

Response: Hello Ken, Indian style pressure cooker is used to boil the mixed dals (lentils) in this recipe. This style cooker has a whistle so the above given sentence is regarding that "when the whistle is completed 4-times". If you are not familiar with this type of pressure cooker, boil the mixed lentils until soft in a pot or an electric pressure cooker.

Nov 18, 2015 by Vaibhav Varma
Recipes are easy and pics make them easier. I love to read it carefully.

Nov 17, 2015 by Dr. Janki Shah
Hi...Please suggest any option for masoor Dal?

Response: Hi Janki, you can use same amount of any avilable dal instead of masoor dal or just skip it.

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Aug 27, 2015 by Marc Tomiuk
Thank you! Exactly what I wanted. Punjabi cuisine is the best!

Aug 15, 2015 by Virendra
Recipes are easy and pics make them easier. Could cook all panner dishes and family loved them. Thank you.

Jul 11, 2015 by Sunaina
Thanks a lot...because of your tasty recipe...I love cooking.

Apr 02, 2015 by Jiya
Awesome recipe. Can you please tell me which is a tablespoon and which a teaspoon?

Response: Hi Jiya, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) = 3 teaspoons. For more details about measurement, follow this cooking measurement page.

Mar 29, 2015 by Salima
Really, all the recipes are looking nice and good in taste. Well done.

Mar 06, 2015 by Chetan
Pics make reading the recipe interesting. Keep it up.

Feb 18, 2015 by Omprakash Dayma
Your recipes are very easy to do. Great!! Thanks a lot !!!! I am trying your recipes & family likes it.

Feb 11, 2015 by Swati
Your recipes are very easy to do. Great!! Thanks a lot !!!! I am trying your recipes & family likes it.

Nov 12, 2014 by sonam dhulekar
Daal seems amazing and tastes well. Thanks a lot.

Sep 07, 2014 by Rachana Mannapur
It is very easy to learn..

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Jul 06, 2014 by ashwini
really enjoy the way of cooking through the receipe u provide......

Jun 04, 2014 by kinjäl
Ur each n every recipe I tried thanks so much otherwise cooking is like tall mountain for me

Nov 12, 2013 by Aara
Daal looks wonderful thank u for sharing