Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 3-4 people
What do you need?
1 cup Toor / arhar (yellow) dal
2 tbs ghee/oil
Pinch of Cumin seeds
Pinch of Mustard seeds
Very little Asafetida (hing) based on your taste
1 tbs sambhar powder,
1/4 tbs chilli powder,
1/2 tbs coriander / dhania powder,
1/4 tbs garam masala,
Curryleaves (add generously)
4-5 long red whole chili
Half an onion – finely chopped (optional)
Few cloves of garlic (optional)
Few pieces of ginger (optional)
How to make the dal?
Soak 1 cup Toor dal 30 mins before cooking. Put the soaked dal and 2 cups of water in a pressure cooker, add salt to taste and 1/4 tbs turmeric. Close the cooker lid and let it sit on high flame till the first whistle. After the first whistle, leave it on low flame for 5-7 minutes based on how soft you want the dal.
Optional step – sauté finely chopped Onions and tomatoes in the cooker before adding dal and water. You can even add this onion later while making the tadka.
After the dal has simmered on low flame for 5-7 minutes, switch off the gas. It does not matter how many whistles are there while the dal is on low flame – my trick in lentils normally (after the first whistle) is the time spent and not the whistles. Wait for all steam to escape before opening the pressure cooker lid.
How to make the Tadka?
Prepare the Tarka in a seperate pan to be mixed with the dal. Put 2 tbs ghee/oil in a heated pan. Add cumin / jeera, asafetida / hing and mustard seeds / sarso after few seconds, when the oil is heated but not burning. Wait for the spices to crackle. If you want your dal to have onion – add it now. If you also want ginger and garlic, now you can grind them in a paste and add to the oil – you can even add them whole or finely chopped for a different flavor.
Then add 1 tbs sambhar powder, 1/4 tbs chilli powder, 1/2 tbs dhania powder, 1/4 tbs garam masala, generous quantity of curry leaves and 4-5 long red whole chilis.
Let the spices and curry leaves blend properly and switch off the gas. At this stage you need to be very careful and precise about turning off the gas, as these spices can burn quickly. Add the tadka in the pressure cooker where the dal is already ready.
Your spicy and simple dal is ready – I call it South Indian style because otherwise I normally don’t add curry leaves and mustard seeds.
Serve this dal with rice or roti / chapatti / Indian flat bread, and enjoy! Do let me know if you have any questions or your feedback after you have tried this recipe 🙂