What is Dal Tadka?
Dal tadka is a special dish made from toor dal, chana dal, and green moong split dal. In English, dal means “lentils'' while tadka means “tempering”. So, dal tadka is basically a lentil soup with a special tempering. Apart from India, you can find dal tadka in many South Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. In other languages, dal tadka is known as dal chaunk, tarka, bagar and many other names.
Although there many types of dal recipes out there, dal tadka recipe is famous for its tempering. First, tadka or tempering is prepared with the help of onion, tomato, garlic, ginger, green chillies, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and many other masala ingredients, and then boiled dal is added to this tempering. This tadka recipe adds a special aroma to the dal that you can not get anywhere else. Garnishing with chopped coriander gives a finishing touch to the dish.
Although there are many types of dal tadka, the most famous one is Punjabi dal tadka. The main difference between these different types of dal tadka is what ingredients or masala you use for making the tempering. We have mentioned the Punjabi dal tadka recipe since it is very easy to make and liked by everyone.
Origin of Dal Tadka
There is no definitive history of dal tadka. In every region of India, from North to South and East to West, it is known by a local name. Hence, it becomes hard to trace its origins. However, since most dals found their origin in the Indian subcontinent, it is speculated that dal tadka might also have its origins in India.
Variations of Dal Fry
We mentioned a recipe by which you can prepare dal fry easily. But you don’t have to stick to the recipe if you want a little change in the taste. Here are some variations that you can try with your dal fry.
Some people do not like the extra tangy flavours of tomato. If you are one of them, just skip the step of putting tomatoes and add some lemon juice at the end.
We have used refined oil in the dal tadka recipe since it contains fewer calories. If the number of calories is not a matter of concern for you, you can replace refined oil with ghee (clarified butter), peanut oil or any neutral-flavoured oil.
There is a method called the dhungar method in which you can add a good smoky flavour to your dal tadka. But you will have to use charcoal for that. If you do not have charcoal at home, you can use smoked paprika instead of red chilli powder to add a distinctive flavour to your dal tadka.
There are no hard and fast rules that stop you from changing the type of lentils that you use for making dal tadka restaurant style. In this recipe, we have used green moong split dal, toor dal, and chana dal. You can also use Tuvar dal (split pigeon pea lentils) and Masoor dal (split pink lentils) if you want a little change in the taste.
How is Dal Tadka Different From Dal Fry?
Some people confuse dal tadka with dal fry. There is a subtle difference in recipes that makes them taste different. In dal fry, cooked dal is mixed in the whole of the tampering while in dal tadka, cooked dal is mixed in half of the tampering while the rest is poured over the dal. This last step gives dal tadka a spicy taste.
Tips & Tricks
We have mentioned the easiest dal tadka recipe that you can follow step by step if you do not have any prior experience in making such dishes. Once you try this dal tadka dhaba style recipe, you should also learn some tips and tricks that can make the whole process easier and also can add an extra flavour to your dal.
Here are some of the tips and tricks that professional chefs follow to make their yellow dal tadka better:
If you are expecting guests, you can cook the lentils first and then keep them in the refrigerator. When you want to use them, just reheat them and then add them to the tempering. This trick should be used only when you can not prepare fresh dal tadka since making it fresh always adds extra flavour to the dal.
Just like any other type of dal, you can change the consistency of dal tadka according to your taste. Generally, a medium consistency is preferred over thick or thin consistency. You can change it by altering the amount of water used in the recipe.
Soaking the lentils for 30 to 40 minutes helps in cooking the lentils faster. This way, you can save both time and energy. If you want to make the process even faster, use hot water instead of cold.
Side Dishes to Have With Dal Tadka
To further enhance the taste of your meal, you can have a side dish with dal tadka. Commonly, the following side dishes are made with dal tadka:
Radish Leaves and Potato Dry: If you have leftover radish leaves at home, there is good news for you. You can make a dish using radish leaves and potatoes. The dish is packed with Vitamin A, C, and C, and can be eaten as a side dish with dal tadka.
: Made with okra, onions, tomatoes, and some other spices, bhindi masala is a dish that is liked by all. Since it is a dry dish, you can have it as a side dish with dal tadka.
: Be it dal tadka or snacks, green chutney goes well with a lot of eating items. It is a flavorful condiment that you can easily make with fresh mint, cilantro, garlic, and some other spices.
Other Dal Recipes
Once you know how to make dal tadka, you probably would want to try other dal recipes too. Daal, after all, is a healthy option that can be served with any type of Indian flatbread like chapati, paratha, naan, etc. Here are some other healthy recipes
of various types of dal that you can try at your home:
: Liked by people of every generation, dal makhani is one of the most popular dishes made from dals. Its subtle smoke flavour makes it different from other types of dals. If you are a fan of Punjabi food, you are going to love daal makhani.
Mix Dal Tadka
: This one involves the use of three types of daal namely lobia dal white, green moong whole and black whole urad dal. If you are bored of having one type of dal, a mixed dal tadka can be a change in taste since the mixture of three types of dal gives a whole new flavour.
Methi Dal Tadka
: When eaten with steamed rice, there is no match for methi dal tadka. Just like Punjabi dal tadka, this one also contains a lot of nutrition, particularly protein. If you are on a gluten-free diet, you should certainly consider making this type of dal tadka.
Moong Toor Dal
: From North to South, you will rarely find a kitchen in India that does not prepare this meal once in a while. If you want to get a lot of protein without putting extra effort into the recipe, you should definitely try this dal.
By now, you know everything about the recipe of tarka dal that is necessary to make your dal delicious. All that is left is actually picking up the utensils and preparing dal tadka dhaba style. So, put on your apron and get ready to make one of the simplest yet tasty dishes of India.
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