For anyone who thinks Dal is boring, I’m going to change your mind today. Just before I started writing this post, I posted a picture of the Dal on Instagram (are we friends yet?) and oh man! I was expecting a lot of meh’s but all I got was yay’s for this Dhaba Style Dal Fry. So now I’m thinking there are other people who might actually like dal. Hallelujah.
Dal or Dhal or Indian Lentil Soup as some like to call it is the kind of thing you take so much for granted. In fact growing up I hated dal, mainly because of my dad. No he didn’t force feed us dal, but he only eats yellow dal – arhar or toor and so we didn’t have too much of an option. Faced with yellow dal day after day, you can imagine our plight – and we still give him a hard time for that 😛
But I guess once you start staying away from home, those very things end up becoming favorites. Everything except yellow dal. Am I confusing you, considering this post is about yellow dal?
So here’s the thing, I don’t like the regular pressure cooker with turmeric and salt only yellow dal. I want mine to have bold flavors, some tadka (tempering), some masala and only then I’m satisfied. Like this one.
My dhaba visits are always a battle. Between deciding whether to order dal fry, dal tadka or dal makhani. Dal fry wins about 40% times. Because dhaba style dal fry is smoky and spicy and indulgent and perfect with crisp tandoori rotis. All you need is some sliced onions on the side and a squirt of lime juice. And you are set.
The secret to this OMG dhaba dal fry is butter and kasuri methi. Trust me, those two just turn regular dal into awesome dal. The steps to making this recipe are pretty simple and totally doable on a weekday. So no extra prep needed, no last minute grocery trips because as long as you have the basic pantry staples, you should be good to go.
Plus it really doesn’t take too much time, and you will have finger licking goodness on the table in under half an hour. Dal Fry is usually a thick dal, unlike dal tadka but you are the boss of your dal so feel free to change things up slightly and just use this recipe as a guide.
Spicy, smoky and really authentic Indian punjabi dhaba style dal (lentil curry soup) fry. A quick 30 minute recipe which is wholesome and healthy.
- 3/4 cup Tur (or Arhar Dal (Pigeon peas spilt and skinned))
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 1 tablespoon (Oil)
- 2 cloves Garlic (smashed)
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Paste
- 1/2 teaspoon Ginger Paste
- 2 Chilies (Green , slit lengthwise)
- 1 Onion (finely chopped)
- 2 Tomatoes (finely chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Dhaniya (or Coriander Powder)
- 1/2 teaspoon Jeera (or Cumin Powder)
- 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric (Powder)
- 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala (Powder)
- 1 tablespoon Kasuri Methi
- 1 Lemon
- to taste Salt
- Coriander (Chopped for topping)
- Pressure cook the dal with 2 1/2 cups water till completely cooked through and can be mashed easily between two fingers. Use a wire whisk or spoon to mash the dal further so it’s almost smooth.
- Heat oil and butter in a pan and smashed garlic. Fry the garlic till light brown, without burning it and add the slit green chilies, ginger and garlic paste.
- Cook for 30 seconds and add onions. Stir fry the onions till they are translucent and add tomatoes, spices and salt.
- Cook till the tomatoes completely break down and become pasty. At this point, stir in the dal along with some water if required. Bring this to a boil and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
- Dry roast the kasuri methi in another pan for a minute or so. Grind it to a powder and mix it in the dal along with juice from the lemon. Switch off the flame and stir in chopped coriander.
- Serve hot with rice, pickle, sliced onions and rotis.