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Lintels or Dals, Punjabi cuisine

Dal Tadka – Restaurant Style

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Dal Tadka is a popular Indian lentil dish made with arhar dal ( pigeon pea lentils). This Dal Tadka recipe gives you a delicious creamy dal with smoked flavours.

Whenever we go to an Indian restaurant we ended up ordering dal. Lintels are most important for vegetarians in India. If you know a little about Indian cuisine you will find that lintel is an important part of it. Moreover, it is a rich protein supplement for vegetarians. That’s why we all grew up eating different type of lentils. Some of them are with husk or whole lintels and most of them are Husked and split. 

Most Indians I know prefer eating Dal Makhani when eating out, simply because it’s not something you make every day. Dal tadka on the other hand is made with toor dal which has to be the most common dal in Indian kitchens!

Toor dal (or arhar dal) was made in my house almost every second day. So obviously when you go out, you don’t want to eat what you anyway eat every day.

However, my husband loved Dal Tadka and so we always ended up ordering it. Actually, the version made in my house every day was super simple, with just a tadka of ghee, red chilli and coriander on top of boiled dal.

Moreover, Dal tadka restaurant style is a little different. In Restaurant-style, dal tadka garlic, ginger, onion and tomatoes are used in tempering. I personally induce flavour of burnt charcoal called Dungar on special occasions to make it a little different.  

What does Dal Tadka mean?

  • Dal is the Hindi term for lentils.
  • Tadka or Chaunk is the Hindi term for tempering and is a commonly employed cooking technique in the Indian cuisine.
  • The tempering method has the spices & herbs fried in oil. The frying of the spices and herbs release their essential oils, aroma and flavour in the hot oil. This fried spices, herbs, oil mixture is added to prepared lentils. Tempering is very much a part of cooking Indian food and we use this method while making dal, vegetable dishes or chutneys.

How to Make the Best Dal Tadka

  • use fresh ingredients- yeah you always want to reach out for that store-bought ginger-garlic paste but trust me, pound some fresh ginger and garlic in your mortar and pestle for this recipe and see the difference.
  • use ghee for cooking- if you are vegan then I understand that you would use oil for this recipe but if you are not vegan, please do use ghee for cooking the masala for the dal and also for the tempering.
  • Ghee really imparts so much flavour to the dal.
  • infuse smokey flavour to the dal through the **Dungar method **it turns simple dal from good to amazing.

**What is dhungar method?**

It’s the technique of infusing the flavours of burnt charcoal (smokey flavour) into a dish. For This, a Piece of charcoal is heated on the direct fire and then placed in a bowl which is then placed inside the dish. Then ghee or oil is poured over the hot charcoal, as the fumes begin to rise from the charcoal, it’s all enclosed with a lid. The dish adsorbs the smokey flavour and turns super flavourful and tasty. 

Finally, I would like to suggest you few more recipes from my blog

Dal Tadka – Restaurant Style

Recipe by MINAL SHARMACourse: Lintels or Dals, Punjabi cuisine


Prep time


Cooking time





Dal tadka is a famous Indian lentil preparation. It is a restaurant type dal that is flavoured by an Indian tadka.


  • For Dal
  • Tuar dal /  yellow pigeon peas…..one cup

  • Turmeric powder….1 tsp

  • Salt………as per taste

  • water….2 cup

  • For tadka:-
  • Onion big……1

  • Tomatoes…..2

  • Garlic pods…..6-7

  • Green chilly…2

  • Green coriander…..2 tsp

  • Cumin seed…..1 tsp

  • Asafetida “heeng”…1/2 tsp

  • Whole red chilli……2

  • Desi ghee…..2 tbsp


  • Wash and pressure cook tuar dal with salt and turmeric powder till done.
  • Chop onion and tomatoes finely crush garlic and chop green chilly.
  • Heat ghee in a pan and add heeng, cumin seeds, red chilly let it crackle, add garlic and onion in it mix well add green chilly cook till turn golden in colour.
  • Now add chopped tomatoes to it and cook till oil separates.
  • Add red chilly powder and coriander powder mix well and put this tadka in dal.
  • Garnish dal with green coriander and serve hot with rice or roti

Recipe Video

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