Tadka Dal
Tadka Dal
5 from 14 votes
Indulge in the tantalizing flavours of the Indian subcontinent with our fabulous tadka dal recipe. This delicacy will tease your palate with a seamless blend of hearty lentils and an exquisite spice profile, making it a must-try dish for every food lover. 
Tadka Dal

Ever wondered how to make that delicious, aromatic Tadka Dal you get at your favorite Indian restaurant? Well, you’re in luck!

Tadka Dal, a traditional Indian dish, is not only bursting with flavors but also surprisingly easy to make at home. Originating from the heart of Indian cuisine, this recipe combines split Bengal gram lentils with a rich blend of spices, creating a wholesome and comforting meal that’s perfect for any occasion.

While the name might sound fancy, don’t be intimidated. Tadka Dal is actually quite beginner-friendly.

It involves cooking lentils until soft, infusing them with a tantalizing mix of spices, and finishing off with a flavorful tempering of garlic and cumin seeds in ghee (clarified butter).

The result? A hearty, soul-warming dish that pairs perfectly with steamed rice or freshly made naan bread.

Expert Tip: Don’t skip the final tadka step! The tempering of garlic, chilli, and cumin seeds in ghee adds a burst of flavor and aroma to the dal, elevating it to another level of deliciousness.


Lentils (Split Bengal Gram): Lentils provide a rich source of protein and fiber. They cook up creamy and soft, creating the hearty base of the Tadka Dal.

Oil: Oil serves as the cooking medium for sautéing the spices and aromatics, infusing the dal with rich flavors.

Cumin Seeds (Jeera): Cumin seeds add a warm, earthy flavor and aroma to the dish, enhancing its overall taste profile.

Crushed Chillies: Crushed chillies bring a subtle heat to the dal, adding depth and complexity to the flavor.

Bay Leaf: Bay leaves impart a subtle, floral fragrance to the dish, elevating its aroma and taste.

Onions: Onions provide a savory sweetness and depth of flavor to the dal as they caramelize during cooking.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes add a tangy brightness and richness to the dal, complementing the earthy lentils and spices.

Turmeric Powder: Turmeric powder not only lends a vibrant yellow color to the dal but also offers subtle earthy notes and health benefits.

Chilli Powder: Chilli powder adds a kick of heat and intensity to the dish, balancing the flavors of the other spices.

Salt: Salt enhances the natural flavors of the ingredients, bringing all the elements of the dish together in harmony.

Garam Masala: Garam masala is a fragrant spice blend that adds warmth and complexity to the dal, infusing it with layers of flavor.

Coriander: Fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) are used as a garnish, adding a pop of color and a fresh, herbaceous aroma to the finished dish.

Expert Tip: To enhance the flavor of the lentils, you can soak them in water for 30 minutes before cooking. This can help reduce cooking time and improve digestibility.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve Tadka Dal hot with steamed basmati rice for a classic and comforting meal.
  • Pair it with freshly made naan bread or roti for a delightful Indian feast.
  • Garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt and a sprinkle of chopped fresh coriander for added freshness and creaminess.
  • For a complete vegetarian meal, serve Tadka Dal alongside a side salad of mixed greens, cucumber, and tomatoes dressed with a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Enjoy leftovers the next day wrapped in warm tortillas or stuffed into pita pockets for a delicious and convenient lunch.

Expert Tip: Experiment with different varieties of lentils, such as red lentils or yellow lentils, to create variations of Tadka Dal with unique textures and flavors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store leftover Tadka Dal?

Leftover Tadka Dal can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Simply reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through before serving.

Can I freeze Tadka Dal?

Yes, Tadka Dal freezes well. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Can I adjust the spice level of Tadka Dal?

Absolutely! Feel free to adjust the amount of chilli powder and crushed chillies according to your personal preference for spice. You can also add a chopped green chilli for extra heat or omit the chillies altogether for a milder version.

Can I substitute ghee with butter in the tadka?

Yes, you can substitute butter for ghee in the tadka if you prefer. However, ghee adds a unique nutty flavor and richness to the dish, so using ghee will give you the most authentic taste.

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Tadka Dal

Tadka Dal

by Nabeela Kauser
Indulge in the tantalizing flavours of the Indian subcontinent with our fabulous tadka dal recipe. This delicacy will tease your palate with a seamless blend of hearty lentils and an exquisite spice profile.
5 from 14 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 6
Calories 338 kcal


Cooking Dal

  • 300 g Lentils Split Bengal Gram
  • 600 ml Water

Dal Masala

  • 50 ml Oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds Jeera
  • 1 tsp Crushed Chillies
  • 2 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Onions
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • Coriander
  • 300 ml Water


  • 50 g Butter Ghee
  • 2 tsp Garlic Chopped
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds Jeera


  • In a large saucepan add the chana dal and the water then allow the water to come to a boil
  • Once the water has come to a boil cover and leave to gently simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes until softened
  • As the chana dal is cooking in another pan heat up the olive oil on medium heat until hot
  • Add the cumin seeds, crushed chillies, bay leaves then sauté for a few minutes until fragrant
  • Add the onions and cook for a few minutes until golden brown and soft
  • Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala and salt before cooking the spices for a few more minutes – add 2 tablespoons of water to help release the colours from the spices and prevent any burning
  • Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes until soft
  • Once the dal has cooked add the softened dal along with the remaining water then cook for 10 minutes on medium heat
  • When the desired consistency is reached remove the pan from the heat
  • In a separate pan add the ghee and allow it to melt
  • Add the chopped garlic, chilli powder and cumin seeds then sauté for a few minutes until fragrant
  • Add the tadka to the dal – tadka can also be added upon serving if preferred
  • Garnish with coriander then enjoy!



Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 338kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 14gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 473mgPotassium: 678mgFibre: 17gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 922IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 60mgIron: 5mg
Keyword Curry, Dal, Food, Lentil Curry, Lentils, Recipe, Spicy, Tadka Dal, Vegan, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!



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Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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