Dal fry is made by adding boiled and softened lentils (dal) to a seasoning of onion, tomato and spices which have been fried in ghee or oil.
Dal fry is a warm and filling dish full of proteins, nutrients and fibre. A spoon of desi ghee (clarified butter) or butter makes dal fry even more aromatic and delicious.
Dal is basically a lentil stew, which is a traditional and most common dish made almost daily in Indian households. Dal fry is one of the most popular dals prepared in India and can be found in the menu of most restaurants.
Dal fry is a healthy, comforting and easy to make dish. It is an ideal dish for a novice to start experimenting with Indian style cooking and recipes.
Which dal to use for dal fry?
Dal fry is a simple Indian dish generally made using arhar dal also known as toor dal (split & skinned pigeon peas). You can also add other lentils in this dish like masoor dal (red split lentil) or moong dal (split yellow lentil).
Dal fry is usually served hot and tastes great with some lemon and coriander leaves sprinkled on top and a crispy papad on the side. It goes well with any of the Indian breads like chapati, naan, tandoori roti etc. as well as with steamed rice or jeera rice.
To make Dal Fry at home follow the detailed step by step recipe with photos posted below.
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Dal Fry Recipe
Ingredients For Dal Fry Recipe
- 1 Cup Toor Dal (Arhar Dal / Split Pigeon Peas)
- 1 Medium Sized Onion
- 2 Tomatoes
- 4-5 Cloves of Garlic
- 1-2 Green Chillies
- 1 inch Piece of Ginger
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
- 1 Teaspoon Black Mustard Seeds (Rai)
- 2 Dried Red Chillies
- 8-10 Curry Leaves (Kari Patta)
- 1/8 Teaspoon Asafoetida (Heeng)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
- 1 Teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt, or to taste
- 1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Fenugreek Leaves
- 2 Tablespoon Ghee or Oil
Step By Step Instructions for Dal Fry Recipe
- Wash the toor dal 3-4 times and add it to a pressure cooker.1 Cup Toor Dal (Arhar Dal / Split Pigeon Peas)
- Add around 3 cups of water and pressure cook the dal till you get 1 whistle. Let the steam come out before opening the cooker.
- When the dal is cooked and soft, mash it with a masher of the back of a big spoon.
- Heat some ghee or oil in a pan or kadai. Add rai (mustard seeds) and let them splutter.1 Teaspoon Black Mustard Seeds (Rai)
- Add jeera (cumin seeds) to the pan and fry till it starts to crackle. Also add a pinch of heeng (asafoetida).1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds (Jeera), 1/8 Teaspoon Asafoetida (Heeng)
- Add finely chopped onions and fry them till they become light brown.1 Medium Sized Onion
- Add finely chopped ginger, garlic and green chilli paste and fry till it is roasted.4-5 Cloves of Garlic, 1 inch Piece of Ginger, 1-2 Green Chillies
- Also add 2-3 whole dried red chillies along with some curry leaves and fry for a minute.2 Dried Red Chillies, 8-10 Curry Leaves (Kari Patta)
- Add finely chopped tomatoes to the gravy and saute till the tomatoes are completely cooked.2 Tomatoes
- Add salt, red chilli powder, haldi (turmeric powder) and garam masala. Mix and cook till the gravy starts to leave oil on the sides.1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder (Haldi), 1 Teaspoon Red Chilli Powder, 1/2 Teaspoon Salt, or to taste, 1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala
- Now add the cooked and mashed dal to the prepared onion tomato masala, and mix well.
- Sprinkle some dried fenugreek leaves on the top and mix them with the dal. Let the dal simmer for 5 minutes.1 Teaspoon Dried Fenugreek Leaves
- Dal Tadka is ready. Optionally, add a few drops of lemon juice before serving. Garnish with some chopped coriander leaves and serve along with onion slices and lemon wedges. Enjoy this dal along with any rice or Indian bread preparation.
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4 thoughts on “Dal Fry Recipe | Restaurant Style Dal Fry”
Thank you for explaining how to cook South Indian dal. My husband, who is Indian, had been wanting me to cook South Indian dal for so many years. I just stuck with cutting up the ingredients while he did all the other stuff. I even tried to learn from his aunties, nervously taking notes in the kitchen. You taking pictures of each step and really laying out all the instructions (which now seem so simple, but at the time felt complicated) helped me finally be able to become good at this dish. Even my husband’s father said it was really good and was impressed. My own grandmother, who loved to cook, watched me as I prepared this meal and said that she could never do anything like this. Thank you very much for explaining how to make this dish, which was so foreign to me some years ago and is now a familiar favorite. I have been making it nearly 3-4 times every week for the past couple of years because it is a staple in our diet.
Thanks for your kind words Indya! Your positive feedback means a lot to us. So happy that the recipe turned out well. 🙂
Water quantity was less. My daal didn’t cook. I’m sleeping hungry tonight all because of you.
Thanks for your feedback, Ravi. So sorry for the inconvenience caused.