This Dal Tadka recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser! Lentil soup is a very popular Indian dish and this aromatic cooking method, called tadka (tempering or infusion) takes it to the next level.
What is Dal?
Set a Dal Tadka dish down on your dinner table tonight and impress everyone with your aromatic cooking skills! But first, let’s get into a little history of this famous method of cooking and what makes it so special in the Indian culture.
We dove headfirst into dals in our recent blog post, The Basics of Indian Cooking: Dal, but we’ll give you a quick refresher. Dals are any split pulses. The pulse refers to the dry, edible seed of the pod of legumes. There are a few different ways dal is spelled in Hindi — such as daal, dahl, or dhal — but they are all generally referring to the same food.
Health Benefits of Dal
Any split legume is referred to as a dal in Indian cuisine and is largely considered to be homestyle comfort food. While they provide rich flavors, dals also have many positive benefits for a healthy lifestyle. Dals are high in protein and low in fat, so they make a healthy option to add to any dish. They’re also high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and are typically gluten-free — not to mention heart-healthy!
Dal Tadka Ingredients
For this simple dal tadka recipe, you’ll need:
- Moong dal
- Spices (chili powder, turmeric powder, salt)
And for the tadka infusion, you’ll need:
- Fresh garlic
- Whole red pepper
- Spices (Curry leaves, garam masala, etc.)
What Does Tadka Mean?
Tadka, also referred to as Tarka, is essentially tempering spices in order to release their oils and robust flavors before combining them in a dish. This can be done by roasting spices in either oil or ghee at a high temperature, so choosing the proper oil is important for this step.
For example, olive oil is not a good choice here since it burns when heated at too high of a temperature. Tarka is used in Indian cuisine because of its aromatic nature and enhances the flavor of the meal, especially in lentil soup.
How to Make Dal Tadka
To make this Indian lentil soup, combine the dal tadka ingredients in a large pot and cook until the lentils are softened. While the lentils cook, make the tadka infusion by sautéing all the spices in a large skillet with some ghee. Once the lentils are fully cooked, stir in the sizzling tadka infusion and serve the lentil soup.
More Vegetarian Indian Recipes:
- Spiced Dal Soup (Indian Lentil Soup)
- Paneer Tikka Masala with Bell Peppers
- Chilled Yogurt Soup with Cucumber and Mint
- Grilled Indian-Style Street Corn with Cilantro and Lime
- Mixed Vegetable Pakora
Dal Tadka Recipe:
- 3/4 cup moong dal
- I md size fine dice onion
- I md size dice tomato
- 1/2 inch fine dice ginger
- 1/4 tsp red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- Salt as required
- 3 cups of water
Tarka ( infusion)
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 4 to 5 garlic pods
- 2 to 3 whole red peppers
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- 1 faced jalapeño pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp Garam masala
- 1/8 tsp asafetida
- 3 tbsp ghee clarifies butter
In an heavy bottom cooking pot or an Instapot put in 1st seven ingredients and water.
Cover and cook until the lentils are cooked through.*
Prepare the tarka in a small sauté pan.
Heat ghee in a small sauté pan on medium heat.
Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add the garlic and green chilies and sauté for a few mins.
Add the curry leaves and broken whole red peppers (optional) paprika Garam masala and asafetida.
As soon as the cooker switches off wait for about 5 mins then open the pot and add the sizzling tarka to the dal.
Still well and serve garnished with cilantro. Serve with steamed rice or chapati, if desired.
If using an Instant Pot, close the pot and put it in rice to cook.