Dal Tadka

Have I told you my parents were bankers? Yep, both of them, though not in the same bank. Come to think of it, there were / are many bankers in the family. So words like NPA recovery, closing, inspection, Negotiable Instrument Act etc; were common terms in our family discussion. But by the beginning of 2000, I started hearing more and more about online banking and Finacle and things like that.

A common discussion when it comes to the initial days of online banking was the hesitance among the customers to try it. In the early days, people were kinda doubtful about the security aspect. Apart from the security aspect, the main reason for lack of interest was losing the whole idea of “personal” relationship and contact with your banker.

From what I remember, my parents used to say that mostly retired people were the ones who worried about losing the personal side of it. For them, visiting the bank and interacting with the staff there, was a welcome change to their everyday routine. It gave them a chance to meet people and also a sense of purpose. More than the business side of it, they enjoyed the social part of it.

Now, I’ll come to the point.

Do you enjoy grocery shopping or food shopping in general? I do! I like to visit the shop and check out all the aisles to see what all products are there, anything new, anything interesting?

Apart from that, it’s also a chance to go out and see people! Now, that I’ve said it out loud… does it make me look like a sad person who has to go grocery shopping to meet people, hhmm…

Anyways, what I wanted to say was… I like to go to the shop and touch and see the things rather than swiping on my phone. There are days when I feel so overwhelmed by the things around me and I just need to get out of the house.  Since roaming on the streets isn't a good idea, considering the weather here, I end up going to the supermarket.

Having said that, there are days when the fridge runs out of the stock and I feel so lazy to get out of the house. This recipe comes handy for such days. Pulses are something that I stock up religiously. It’s easy to cook, healthy and filling.

Dal and rice, is comfort food at it’s best. It’s easy to make, not much of prep work and minimum ingredients too. Yet, at the end of the meal, it leaves you happy and content. Though I make dal often, it’s mostly South Indian style using coconut. This time I tried a North Indian version of the simple dal tadka.

The flavour of jeera and fried garlic gives a distinct flavour to this dal. The addition of amchur powder was something new to me and we liked the slight sharpness it gives to the dish. We absolutely loved this dish with some veg pulao, papad and pickle. A big thanks to my friend Aditi, for sharing this wonderful recipe with me.

Here is the recipe…

Recommended Side dishes: Ghee Rice, Jeera Rice, Veg Pulao, Plain Rice and Roti

Check out other Dal recipes here

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Dal Tadka

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Servings: 3 -4
Author: Maria Jose Martin


  • 1 cup Toor dal / pigeon peas
  • 1 big Tomato (chopped)
  • 2-3 Green chilli (slit lengthwise)
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2.5 – 3 cups Water

For Tadka (tempering)

  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1.5 – 2 tsp Crushed garlic
  • 1 medium Onion (chopped)
  • 1-2 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 tbsp Chopped coriander leaves (for garnishing)
  • a pinch Amchur powder (dry mango powder)


  • Wash the dal and add chopped tomato, green chilli,turmeric powder, salt and 2.5 cups water. Pressure cook till it's done (refer notes). Once the pressure releases open the cooker and whisk the dal till it becomes smooth.
  • In a small pan, heat ghee. Add cumin. Once it splutters, add crushed garlic and fry till it becomes brown. Add chopped onion and cook till it becomes golden brown. Add this and the chopped coriander leaves to the dal. Mix well. Sprinkle Amchur powder (if using).
  • Serve hot with rice or roti.


Pressure cooking dal – Since I prefer the dal to be mashed up, I cook it for 8-10 whistles on medium – high flame. Switch off the gas. Let the pressure drop naturally, around 10-15 mins.
Keep in mind that dal tends to thicken as it rests, so adjust the qty of water accordingly. While reheating, add more water and reheat.
Though I strongly recommend using ghee for this recipe, you can also use oil instead of ghee for tempering. If you are using oil add a tsp of ghee in the end.
Though amchur powder gives a nice tang to the dish, you can also make this without it.
Tried this recipe? Let others know by…mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu
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10 thoughts on “Dal Tadka”

  1. Hello Sis Maria !

    You most of the mutton recipe are easy to cook & delicious to eat ?.
    I am in Africa .. base meat is available .. ?

  2. Hi Maria, I have been an ardent follower of your blog/website for about a year now. I really find that your recipes stand out from each other, whereas many of the recipes in other blogs just taste more or less the same. After testing and trying recipes from so many blogs, I have realised that I come back to your blog more often than any other I have ever visited. Keep posting recipes so people like me who live far away from home can serve a slice of Kerala in every dish we make. I do have one tiny concern, however. Each dish has an introductory page before we can navigate to the actual recipe page. As your pages are information intensive, it takes time to load as well. Together, both these factors make it cumbersome to get to the actual recipe and I (and probably every other working woman) am always in a hurry. Please see if you can merge the two pages and make it a tad easier. :)

    • Hi Anamika,

      Thank you so much for your lovely feedback :) Really happy to know that you come back to MM! About your suggestion, I’m sorry dear, I dont think, we’d be able to change the design as of now. We changed into this format after people complaining of requiring to scroll down a lot. It took a lot of time and effort on our side to change into this format. But, I’m not so sure about the” taking time to load” part, because we upgraded to a new server package to increase the site speed and also we do speed test frequently on our end, to make sure it’s loading fast. I agree it might take a bit more time in mobile, compared to pc. However, the speed also depends on your service provider. Hope you understand our situation.

      Thanks again for being a loyal reader of MM, we appreciate it very much :)


      • I use high speed wi-fi and use my laptop. but anyways, if most of your readers prefer this, then so be it :) cheers

        • Hi Anamika,

          I really dont know why the site takes time to load if you access from laptop, that too with a high speed connection :( We had some issues with certain publishers before. Since we got feedback from readers that it’s delaying the upload, we removed them from the site, but it was almost 2 months ago.

          I do hope the site speed increases at your end and you continue to visit us here :)

          Happy Sunday!


  3. Your most wrlcome Maria.Glad that you’ll liked it . The write up that preludes the recipe has taken a simple comfort food like DaL Tadka to another level!!!
    You bet it’s food for the soul!!


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