Dal Fry needs no introduction. This dal is delicious, tempered with onions, tomatoes, ginger, and garlic. The simplicity of dal fry is rustic and comforting. It pairs well with both Tandoori Rotis and Plain/ Jeera Rice.
This vegan lentil recipe is one of the most popular dishes from India which is so simple to make and absolutely scrumptious.
What is Dal Fry?
Dal or Dahl in Hindi is a generic term for all lentils. Dal Fry is a mildly spiced creamy lentil dish enjoyed with Rotis or rice. This dal fry is made with Toover/ Arhar Dal (Pigeon Pea Lentils), Yellow Moong Dal, and Orange Masoor Dal.
This Dal Fry recipe is a stovetop version. It involves cooking the lentils in a pressure cooker with turmeric and salt. Then, the dal is tempered with cumin seeds, dried red chilies, curry leaves, onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes with some spices.
My recipe for dal fry tastes just like how you would expect it to be in a restaurant. To take it up a notch, you can smoke the dal with the charcoal method.
Is This Recipe Vegan and Gluten-Free?
This recipe is naturally vegan. We will be using oil to temper these creamy lentils. I use asafetida, which is not gluten-free. So if you wish to make this gluten-free, skip adding asafetida or add gluten-free asafetida.
Expert Tips to Make This Creamy Lentil Dish
- What Type Of Lentils to Use? - You might have noticed that when you use just Tuver dal or Pigeon Pea lentils, your dal might taste a little flat. I like to use a combination of Yellow moong dal, Tuver Dal, and Orange Masoor Dal to make this recipe. It renders beautiful creaminess to the dal along with adding a beautiful depth of flavor.
- Consistency - You can adjust the consistency as per your liking. I like mine to be a little creamier and thicker if I am going to serve dal with rotis, and a little runnier for rice.
- Fats - Traditionally this recipe uses ghee. But I don't like adding ghee to the recipe. I use Grapeseed oil to make it healthier and I like it tastes better with oil. Ghee makes this dal very heavier, and to make it an everyday comfort food I prefer using flavorless oil.
- Smokey Flavor - Take this dal up a notch by adding a smokey touch. Burn the charcoal on an open flame. Place a heatproof small bowl on top of the dal. Add the smoked piece of charcoal in the bowl. Top it with 1 tsp ghee/oil. Cover with a lid. This will render a beautiful smokey flavor to the dal fry.
How to Cook Lentils Without a Pressure Cooker?
Wash and rinse the lentils thoroughly until the water runs clear. Soak the lentils for about 30 minutes. Drain the water from the lentils after 30 mins. Now to a heavy bottom pan, add the lentils. Add about 2.5 cups of water, 1 tsp oil, turmeric, and salt. Cover and cook it on medium flame. Remove the cover if the lentils are very frothy. It will take about 30-45 minutes for lentils to cook on the stove. Follow the instructions as per the recipe after this step.
Jump To: Recipe
- 1 Pressure Cooker
- 1 Heavy Botttom Pan
Pressure Cook the Lentils
- 1/4 Cup Tuver Dal
- 1/4 Cup Yellow Moong Dal
- 1/4 Cup Masoor Dal
- 1/4 Tsp Turmeric
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
To Temper The Dal
- 2-3 Tbsp Oil
- 1 Tsp Jeera
- 1/8 Tsp Asafetida
- 2 Dried Red Chilies
- 10-12 Curry Leaves
- 2 Green Chilies
- 1/2 Cup Onions Finely Chopped
- 1.5 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Minced
- 1/2 Cup Tomatoes Finely Chopped
- 1/2 Tsp Red Chili Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1/2 Tsp Coriander Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Garam Masala
- 1 Tsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves Kasuri Methi
- 1.5 Cups Water
- 1 Tbsp Cilantro Finely Chopped
Pressure Cook The Lentils
- Measure and add the lentils to a mixing bowl. Now add water, and wash the lentils, and drain the water. Wash the lentils 3-4 times, or until the water runs clear. Soak the lentils for 10 minutes.
- Now drain the water. To a pressure cooker add the lentils, add 2 cups of water. Next add in turmeric and salt. Stir with a spoon. Close the pressure cooker and let the lentils cook for 4-5 whistles.
- Let the pressure cooker naturally cool down. While the lentils are cooking prepare the ingredients you need to temper the dal.
- Once the pressure cooker is completely cool, open the pressure cooker. Using a hand blender, mash the dal. This will make it deliciouly creamy. If you don't have a handblender, you can also use a whisk.
- Keep the lentils aside.
Temper the Dal Fry
- Add oil to a heavy bottom pan. To this add oil. Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, dried red chilies, green chilies, asafetida and curry leaves.
- Let the cumin seeds splutter, and add finely chopped onions and ginger garlic.
- Sauté until onions are golden and cooked. Next add in the finely chopped tomatoes.
- Add red chili powder, turmeric, coriander powder, and salt. Let the tomatoes cook on a medium flame until mushy.
- Now add the pressure cooked lentils. Mix everything well.
- Add water and mix again. Once the dal comes to a rolling boil, add kasuri methi and garam masala. To add kasuri methi, crush it between your palms and then add to give a smokey flavor.
- Mix everything well, bring it to a boil. Adjust the consistency as per your liking. Serve it with rotis, tandoori roti, naan, plain rice or jeera rice.
- The instant Pot version of Dal Fry is already on the blog. Click Here.
- Read the Blog Thoroughly
- You can also use only tuver dal to make this dal.
- Add roughly spinach in the end to add more nutrition
- If you want to make dal tadka, just add a tempering of oil, cumin seeds, garlid, dried red chilies, and dash of chili powder.