Indian · Punjabi · Vegetarian

Spicy Smoky Dal Fry (classic Lentil soup)

Dal Fry is one of my all time favorite dals. The spicy smoky dish is what I usually used to go for in an Indian restaurant or dhaba in India. But in the USA, most Indian restaurants have Americanized food, so the dal fry is less spicy with mild flavors. I’ve tried to recreate the recipe at home with spicy masala, bold flavors and ghee tempering. Exactly the way I like it!

It doesn’t take a lot of time to make it, so it’s a perfect recipe for a weekday. Plus it tastes great with tandoori rotis, plain rotis or jeera rice alongside some sliced onion and lemon wedges on the side.


Serves: 4
Cooking time: 35 – 40 mins


½ cup split pigeon peas (toor dal)
¼ cup split dehusked  mung beans (moong dal)
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp salt, adjust as per taste
1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 onion, large size, sliced
1½ tbsp garlic, finely chopped
1½ tbsp ginger, finely chopped
1 tbsp green chilies, finely chopped
2 dry red chilies
1 tomato, medium size, finely chopped
1 tsp coriander – cumin (dhane – jeera) powder
¼ tsp garam masala
½ tbsp lemon, or adjust as per taste
2 tbsp cilantro (coriander leaves / kothambir), for garnish


1.  Combine dals (toor and moong) together, rinse dals 2-3 times and soak them in 3 cups of water for 20 mins.
2.  After 20 mins, add 1 more cup water to the dals,  ¼ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp salt, asafoetida (hing) and pressure cook for 2 whistles on medium heat. Keep aside.
3.  Heat ghee on medium flame in a pan, add cumin seeds and let it sizzle for 30 sec. Add sliced onion to the pan, mix well and cook until the onions are lightly browned.
4.  Then add finely chopped ginger, garlic, green chilies, dry red chilies and saute for 30 sec.
5.  Once the raw smell of ginger and garlic goes away, add chopped tomatoes, saute and cook for 3-4 mins or until they are soft.
6.  Then add ¼ tsp turmeric powder, coriander – cumin powder, garam masala, 1½ tsp salt and mix well. Saute for 1 min. Add cooked dal and mix everything together.
7.  Add 1 cup water (or more if required), mix well and bring it to a boil until the dal comes to the desired consistency. Turn off heat.
8.  Add lemon and garnish it with cilantro.

Serve hot atop a dish of white steamed rice or jeera rice.

spoonful O’ tips

1.  I like the texture of whole cooked dals but if you don’t like it, then mash the cooked dal with a spoon or blend it in a blender for a smoother texture.
2.  Instead of ghee, butter or oil can be used in the recipe. Ghee is the best option which enhances the the flavor and gives a rich aroma to the Dal Fry.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s