Dhaba Style Daal (Daal Tarka)

Dhaba Style Daal Tadka

Lentils are generically termed as Daal in India (in Hindi language). My Papa and my hubby are absolute daal lovers. Most of the times they only require just daal and chapati as their staple diet – they don’t even need any vegetable curry. And for this reason, I am always experimenting with different daals to satisfy their palate.

Tonight also my hubby asked me for daal – roti (chapati) in dinner. Honestly I was definitely not looking forward to have the usual daal in dinner. But I also did not wanted to make separate daal/curry for both of us. Finally it struck me and we agreed on some home-made dhaba style daal today.

Again, for the benefit of all – Dhabas are the highway eateries in India and, are essentially no-frills restaurants with a village touch. Eating in a road side dhaba, sitting on a charpoy, under the open sky has a completely different charm of its own.

Tadka is a hindi word for tempering, it is a cooking technique, in which the spices are fried briefly in oil or ghee, to liberate essential oils and thus enhance their flavours, aroma and taste of the final dish, in which the tempering is added. Tempering is very much a part of cooking indian food as we temper almost everything like daal, vegetables, chutneys.

We have been living in London for quite some time, and did not really had dhaba daal for a considerably long time.

It should be noted that this daal has a creamy texture that comes without the use of any cream. Being a health conscious person, I don’t use lot of oil in my dishes unlike as done in the the Dhabas; so this is dhaba style daal with less oil/chilli powder but equally delicious.

The ingredients for making Dhaba style Daal are:

  1. Arhad Daal (Toor/Tuvar daal/Split Pigeon Pea Lentil) : 1/2 cup
  2. Moong Daal (Split Yellow Lentil) : 1/2 cup
  3. Chana Daal (Split Bengal gram): 1/4 cup
  4. Masoor Daal (Split Pink Lentil): 1-2 Tbsp
  5. Green Chilli : 2
  6. Onion : 1 (chopped)
  7. Tomato : 1 (chopped)
  8. Ginger : 1 tsp
  9. Turmeric Powder : 1/2 tsp
  10. Salt : to taste
  11. Asafoetida : 1/4 tsp
  12. Water : 2-3 cup
  13. Dry Fenugreek Leaves (Kasuri Methi) : 1 tsp
  14. Fresh Coriander Leaves : 1 Tbsp

The ingredients for Tempering are :

  1. Clarified butter (ghee) / Oil : 2 Tbsp
  2. Cumin seeds : 1 tsp
  3. Garlic : 8 cloves
  4. Green chilli  : 2

Method :

Get all daal(s) in a pan. Wash and rinse them 3-4 times.

Put the daal in a pressure cooker. Add onion, tomato, green chilli, ginger, asafoetida, turmeric powder, salt and water in it.  Cook the daal till 4-5 whistles.

When the daal has been cooked, beat the daal and add water according to your desired consistency. Stir well and cook for 3-4 minutes on a low flame.

Once you have got the desired consistency add garam masala, dry fenugreek leaves and coriander leaves.  Switch off the flame and mix well.

Heat a pan with clarified butter/ oil; then temper with cumin seeds, garlic and green chilli. Once the garlic becomes brown, pour entire tempering into the daal and mix it. Your dhaba style daal is ready to be served…have it with raw onion!

Best way to enjoy this (in the true dhaba style): hot daal with either Chapati/Parantha/Naan/Kulcha/rice, and with some sliced raw onions with a tinge of lemon.

Dhaba Style Daal Tadka

Insider Tips / Finer Points :

  • You may add cream (1 Tbsp) just before tempering.

  • You may temper with whole red chilli instead of green chilli for more hotness.


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