Quick and Easy Indian Dal Recipes


Dal has been an important part of Indian cuisine since ancient times. Dal is used interchangeably to describe the lentil, and various soup-like dishes made using lentils. In most Indian households, dal (soup-like dish) is a staple that’s made almost every day. It’s extremely healthy, easy to make, kid-friendly, and can be adapted to any lifestyle. Even if you’re extremely busy, all you need is 20-30 minutes to make dal. You can have it with rice, or even by itself for a hearty, nutritious meal. In this blog, we’ll be sharing 4 popular dal recipes that are incredibly easy and delicious so you can savor authentic Indian cuisine at home and get the nutrients you need to lead a healthy lifestyle. 

Dal Tadka


This is one of the most popular dishes served at restaurants. This dal is basically cooked lentils that are tempered with ghee/oil and traditional spices. What people don’t realize is that its restaurant-quality taste and flavor can be achieved even at home, effortlessly in max 30 minutes! 


  • 1 cup Toor Dal 
  • ½ cup Onions, Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup Tomatoes, Finely Chopped
  • 1-2 Green Chillies 
  • 1 tsp Ginger, Grated or Ginger Paste
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • ¼ tsp Asafoetida
  • ½ tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 2 tbsp Coriander Leaves, Finely Chopped
  • Salt to Taste

For the tempering: 

  • 3 tbsp Oil or Ghee
  • 2-3 Dry Red Chillies
  • 5-6 Garlic Cloves, Finely Chopped
  • A pinch of Asafoetida
  • 1 tsp Kasuri Methi
  • ½ tsp Red Chilli Powder


Step 1: Take the toor dal and soak it for 2-3 hours or overnight so it’ll be easier to cook evenly. 

Step 2: When you’re ready to prepare the dal tadka, rinse the soaked toor dal thoroughly. Add the toor dal to a pressure cooker along with onions, tomatoes, green chilies, and ginger/ginger paste. 

Step 3: Add 2.5 cups of water. Then add turmeric powder and asafoetida. Stir well until everything is evenly combined. 

Step 4: Close the lid and pressure cook for 7 – 8 whistles until they become soft. Then, take a whisk or hand blender, and blend until you get a smooth, almost creamy consistency. 

** If the dal has a thick consistency, then add about ½  – 1 cup of water to the pressure cooker. Then let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. 

Step 5: Once you have your preferred consistency, then add garam masala, chopped coriander leaves, and salt to taste. Stir well and turn off the stove. 

Step 6: In a small saucepan or a tadka pan, heat up some oil/ghee. Once the oil/ghee is hot, add all the ingredients listed for the tempering. 

Step 7: Once you hear everything spluttering, take the saucepan or tadka pan off the heat, and add it to the dal tadka. 

** If you plan to heat the dal tadka later in the day, then you can make the tempering right before you serve to make the dal more robust. 

When you’re ready to eat, you can serve this dal tadka with roti, paratha, or rice. Besides the fact that it requires minimal ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes, the dal tadka recipe can be customized according to what you have available in the pantry. You can even add moong dal or chana dal to this recipe along with the toor dal to get even more nutrients. 

Dal Fry


This is yet another popular Indian dish you can find at your local restaurants in the U.S. When you order them at a restaurant, they’re often served in a pot made of bronze, brass, or tin. It makes for a protein-packed meal that can be paired with almost anything. 


  • ½ cup Toor Dal
  • ½ tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 2-3 tbsp Ghee or Oil 
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • ⅓ cup Medium-Sized Onion, Finely Chopped
  • 1 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 10 -12 Curry Leaves
  • 2-3 Dry Red Chillies
  • 1-2 Green Chillies
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • ½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • ¼ tsp Asafoetida
  • ⅓ cup Medium-Sized Tomatoes, Finely Chopped
  • 1 tsp Crushed Kasuri Methi (Optional)
  • ½ tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 2 tbsp Coriander Leaves
  • ½ tsp Lemon Juice (Optional)


Step 1: Take the toor dal and rinse well. Then add it to the pressure cooker along with a pinch of turmeric powder and 1 ½ cups of water. Pressure cook for 8-9 whistles over medium heat until they’re extremely soft. 

Step 2: Once they’re cooked, let it cool to room temperature and mash them. You shouldn’t be able to see separate grains. 

Step 3: Now, take a large saucepan, and heat some ghee or oil. Once the oil is hot, add some mustard seeds. 

Step 4: Once the mustard seeds start spluttering, add some cumin seeds, and saute for a few minutes until they’re fragrant. 

Step 5: Now, add the onions, and saute for 2-3 minutes until they turn translucent, to a light golden-brown color.

Step 6:  Add ginger garlic paste, and saute for a few minutes until they’re fragrant, and the raw smell disappears. 

Step 7: Add curry leaves, dry red chilies, and green chilies and saute for 1-2 minutes. 

Step 8: Add all the spices – red chili powder, turmeric powder, and asafoetida. Stir well until they’re all evenly combined. 

Step 9: Next, add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes get nice and soft. At this point, the oil will also start separating. 

Step 10: When the tomatoes are cooked, and the oil starts separating, add the mashed toor dal to the saucepan. Stir well until they’re evenly combined. 

Step 11: Add 1 – 1 ½ cups of water to the saucepan. Stir well until everything is nicely combined, and you have a smooth consistency. 

Step 12: Add salt to taste, and let it simmer for 6-7 minutes while stirring occasionally to avoid clumps. 

Step 13: Add kasuri methi (optional) and garam masala powder.  Stir well and let it simmer for an additional 1-2 minutes. 

Step 14: At this point, check to see the consistency and salt, and adjust accordingly to your preference. If you’re satisfied, turn off the stove, add coriander leaves, and lemon juice. Stir and combine well. 

You can serve this dal fry with basmati rice, paratha, roti, idli, or dosa. You can also add masoor dal or chana dal if you have them available in your pantry. Its’ extremely easy to customize, and even if you’re a beginner, you’ll feel like a chef in the kitchen when you make this. 

Gujarati Dal 


This dal is the ultimate comfort food in many households, especially in Gujarati households. It’s a staple that’s made almost every day. This recipe is extremely effortless and only calls for basic ingredients like tomato, onion, garlic, and basic spices. 


  • 1 cup Toor Dal
  • ½ cup Tomatoes, Finely Chopped
  • 1 tsp Ghee
  • 1 tsp Oil 
  • Salt to Taste


  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Cloves
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 4 -5 Kokum 
  • 2 Round Red Chillies, Small
  • 2 Green Chillies, Split 
  • 6-7 Curry Leaves
  • 2 tbsp Raw Peanuts
  • ¼ tsp Mustard Seeds
  • ¼ tsp Cumin Seeds
  • ¼ tsp Methi Seeds
  • 1tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • ¼ tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 ½ tsp Coriander-Cumin Powder
  • ¼ tsp Asafoetida 
  • 4 tsp Jaggery Powder or Grated Jaggery


  • 2 tbsp Coriander Leaves, Roughly Chopped


Step 1: First, take the toor dal and soak for 2 -3 hours or overnight. 

Step 2: Then when you’re ready to make the dal, wash the toor dal thoroughly. Then add it to your pressure cooker along with 2 cups of water, and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles on medium heat. 

Step 2: After the whistles, wait until the steam releases. Open the lid, and check to see the consistency. It should be smooth. If it’s not, pressure cook for additional 1-2 whistles, or take your hand blender and blend until it’s smooth. Keep it aside. 

Step 3: In a large pan or wok, heat ghee. Once it’s hot, add mustard seeds and cumin. Once they start spluttering, add fenugreek seeds, split green chilies, cinnamon sticks, cloves, bay leaf, curry leaves, ginger-garlic paste, and asafoetida. Saute them for a few minutes. 

Step 4: Now add the tomatoes along with turmeric, coriander, cumin, and chili powder. Stir well until they’re evenly combined and let them cook for 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes get soft and release the liquid. 

Step 5: Once the tomatoes are cooked, add the toor dal, with 1 ½ cups of water and salt to taste. Cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, while stirring occasionally. 

Step 6: Now, add the remaining spices: peanuts, kokum, grated jaggery/jaggery powder. Stir well, and cook for another 10-12 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally to avoid the dal sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Step 7: Now, add the coriander leaves. Let it cook for another 2-3 minutes and keep stirring occasionally. 

That’s it, turn off the heat. If you’d like, you can temper some curry leaves, mustard seeds, and a pinch of asafoetida in a separate small pan and add it on top of the dal. 

You can enjoy this dal with paratha, rice, roti, or even by itself for a hearty lunch and dinner. This dal is especially comforting on rainy days.  

Spinach Dal 


This dal is the ultimate combination of two nutritional powerhouses. You get the goodness of spinach and lentils. It has a unique creamy texture and a subtle aroma. Just like the other dals in this blog, this dal is also extremely easy to make and takes less than 30 minutes. The pressure cooker does all the work for you!


  • ¼ cup Toor Dal 
  • ¼ cup Masoor Dal 
  • 2 cups Spinach, Finely Chopped
  • 1-2 Green Chillies, Slit
  • 1 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • ¼ tsp Asafoetida
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • ½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • Water, as required. 
  • 3 tbsp Ghee or Oil 
  • Salt to Taste


Step 1: Take the toor dal and masoor dal, and wash them thoroughly. Add them to the pressure cooker with 2 – 2 ½ cups of water, and let them cook or 5-6 whistles or until they’re soft. Once they’re done, mash them and keep it aside. 

Step 2: In a saucepan, heat some ghee or oil. Once the oil/ghee is hot, add the cumin seeds and saute until they splutter. Then, add the ginger garlic paste until they’re fragrant but not burnt. 

Step 3: Add green chili, and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add spinach, red chili powder, and asafoetida. 

Step 4: Stir to combine well. Saute for a few minutes over medium heat until the spinach wilts, and stops releasing water. Make sure not to overcook the spinach. 

Step 5: Now add ½ – 1 cup of water, and combine well. Let it simmer for a few minutes. Check to see whether you like the consistency. If it’s too thick or thin for your liking, add/adjust the water accordingly. 

Step 6: As the final step, add salt to taste. Stir well, and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes. Then serve hot with rice, paratha, or roti. 

That’s it! A robust, delicious dal is ready to savor in just 6 steps! If you want a little creamier consistency, then you can add ¼ cup of cream at the end, and stir well. You can also substitute spinach with kale, or just add kale to this recipe for extra nutrition. 

The great thing about all the recipes mentioned in this blog is that they can be customized to fit any diet. You can also avoid using onions, ginger, or garlic, and it’ll taste just as good! It’s important, however, to pay attention to the kind of ingredients you’re using. The spices and dals mentioned above are from Danfe Foods. Danfe offers authentic Indian products that are 100% natural, pesticide-free, GMO-free, and preservative-free. So you get all the nutrients and none of the bad stuff. It truly is the best way to experience authentic Indian cuisine and help your loved ones (including your kids) get the nutrients they need for the day.


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