Today's recipe is Dhaba Style Dal Tadka also called Restaurant Style Yellow Dal.
Every household as a favourite dal and a special way of cooking it.Even within households, people cook Dal differently.My aunt usually only makes the brown Masoor with the Chilka and my mother prefers Moong.There is no right or wrong way to make a dal- you can make it in one shot in the pressure cooker-without bothering with an extra tadka or you could slow cook it like the black dal usually is for a creamy consistency.
The Dhaba Style Dal Tadka that I make has two types of tempering or tadka.The first one is with the usual suspects - Onions,Tomato,Ginger,Garlic and spices and the second tempering which creates the drama and visual appeal is with Ghee,Dry Chilli powder and Cumin.
The trick is to get the Ghee to a smoking point and then add the ingredients in a quick succession.Just before you add the chilli powder, switch off the gas so it doesn't burn but gets heated in the oil and leaves its characteristic aroma and colour.
For this Dhaba Style Dal Tadka, the second tadka is usually poured over the dal just before serving, often when the dal is already in a small bowl along with all the other accompaniments.
Types of Dals used in India
As I said above, every household has a different favourite house dal and a different way of making it.For this Dhaba Style Dal Tadka I have used a mix of
- Channa Dal- Also called Split chickpeas or Split Bengal Gram
- Toor Dal- Split Pigean Peas- Tuvar or Arhar Dal.
If you can't find these specific dals where you live, you can substitute Masoor Dal for Toor Dal and in a pinch skip the Chana Dal.My reason for using these specific dals is that Toor dal becomes creamy when boiled and the Channa dal retains its shape to give more texture to the dish.
Can the Dal Fry be made Vegan
Most indian households are vegetarians with exception to few dollops of ghee here and there.To make this Dhaba Style Dal Tadka Vegan simply skip the ghee and use any oil of your choice.
Dhaba Style Dal Tadka without pressure cooker
If you don't own a pressure cooker the dal should be cooked in a big pot with 5 cups of water instead.Bring everything to boil, cover and simmer for around 45-60 minutes to get the dal to a creamy consistency.
- 1 Cup Toor Dal Split Pigeon Pea
- ¼ Cup Channa Dal Split Chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric
- 1 tablespoon Salt give or take as per your taste
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 pinch asafoetida Hing
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Jeera
- 2 onions-Chopped
- 2 green chillies-Slit
- 3-4 Garlic Cloves- Chopped
- 1 inch Ginger- Chopped
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala optional
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon Chilli Powder
- 2 Tomatoes-Chopped
- juice of ½ lime
- 2 tablespoon Ghee use oil as a Vegan Alternative
- ½ teaspoon Cumin Jeera
- 2 pinches asafoetida Hing
- 3-4 Dried Red Chillies
- 1 Green Chilli-Split
- 1 teaspoon Ginger julienes
- 1 teaspoon Garlic cloves-sliced
- 3 Cloves
- 1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
- Coriander Leaves
- Wash the Toor dal & channa dal.
- Add it to the pressure cooker with turmeric, salt and 3 ½ Cups of water.
- Pressure Cook for 4-5 whistles and let the steam escape on it's own.The toor dal will turn creamy and the channa dal will be soft but still hold shape.
The first Tadka*
- In another pan, heat the oil.
- Add the Cumin,once it splutters, add the asafoetida.Next spoon in the ginger, garlic and the green chillies.Let it cook for 30 seconds.
- The chopped onions go in next. Saute till they are somewhere between golden brown to dark brown.
- Sprinkle in the coriander powder,Chilli Powder and the Garam Masala.Roast for 10-20 seconds, then add in the chopped tomatoes.
- If its too dry, add 1-2 tablespoon of water.Cook the masala till the tomatoes are mushy and soft.-Takes about 10-15 minutes.
- Mix this masala with the dal.Add lime juice.
The Second Tadka**
- In a small tadka pan or kadhai, heat the 2 tablespoon of Ghee.
- When it starts to smoke, Add the cumin,asafetoda,ginger,garlic,Chillies-Red & Green and cloves.
- Switch off the heat,Add the chilli powder.Mix with a spoon.
- Pour this over the Hot Dal.
- Garnish with coriander, and serve immediately.
This step should be done at the same time as the pressure cooker to save time.
The Second Tadka**
This is the last step, usually performed just before serving.
Also note that the amount of chilli in the dal will vary as per the strength of the garam masala and the chillies used.
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